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Danvers-based caterer rolls into Suffolk Downs Food Truck Festival

Posted by Justin Rice  October 20, 2011 11:21 PM

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Courtesy photo

Danvers-based Brandi Foods is participating in the first ever Suffolk Downs Food Truck Festival from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. From left to right, the Brandi Foods team includes Ali Cleary, Suzanne Brandi-Reed, Chris Mulvany, Timm Rogers and Steve Brandi

Even though Steve Brandi and his sister Suzanne Brandi-Reed have never worked a major food truck festival, they are no strangers to cooking out of the back of a truck.

“We don’t own a [traditional] food truck but I’ve been cooking out of a truck since I was eight, standing on milk crates in the back of the truck,” said Steve, 40, who along with Suzanne, 38, will take their catering business to the first ever Suffolk Downs Food Truck Festival from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Started in 1977 by their father, Holten Brandi Foods, Inc. has cooked food in its truck at private events while serving the food in a tent in front of the truck. Steve and Suzanne, both of Peabody, said this Saturday will be their first time operating in a retail environment. And even though they don’t have a window to serve the food out of, Brandi Foods is a precursor to the food truck phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.  

“My father started doing this years ago and all the other caterers around said ‘If it wasn’t for him they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing today [with food trucks],’” said Suzanne, who noted that serving such a large amount of people will be one of their biggest adjustment to a working a retail event. “This is the first time we’re selling directly off the truck. The biggest adjustment is dealing with cash and hand and point of sale rather than getting a lump sum.”

At the Suffolk Downs Food Truck Festival, which will also feature live thoroughbred racing, Brandi Foods’ menu will include orange cashew chicken, a falafel wrap, Thai beef banh pho and a pulled beef brisket sandwich. They will also have their signature salad, Leila’s Delight, which features sliced granny smith apples and red pears, mesclun greens, Gorgonzola cheese, chopped pistachios and herbed croutons tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.

“We’re hoping to get more exposure to what we do and what our food tastes like,” Suzanne said. “It’s just larger exposure in general to the public.”

Suzanne and Steve took the business over from their father, Holten, 72, when he retired 10 years ago.

“He thinks it’s great,” Suzanne said of the food truck festival. “He used to do concessions down at Sullivan Stadium many years ago. He likes to go outside the box every once in a while and keep things new.”

The highlight of the live racing program will be the $100,000 Robert M. O’Malley Sprint Stakes, a six-furlong sprint over the main track for fillies and mares age three and up.  Also on the card is the John Kirby Stakes, a one mile and 70 yard route for three-year-olds bred in Massachusetts.

Parking is free for the event and admission is $5 and free for children 12 and under. Admission proceeds benefit charities serving families in need in East Boston, Revere and Winthrop. For more information visit http://www.suffolkdowns.com/events.html  or on Facebook at facebook.com/FoodTruckFestivalsofNE and on Twitter, twitter.com/foodtruckfestNE

Other food trucks at the festival will include:

Captain’s Coffee Brewers – A café on wheels, serving up high quality cappuccino, lattes, coffee, pastries and the now famous Captain's Cold Brew.

Daddy’s Fried Dough – Daddy's Fried Dough provides freshly made dough; fried golden brown topped with real butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Franca’s Wood Fired Catering – Specializing in wood-fired pizza, calzones, and more, all cooked to perfection!

The FroYo Truck – Finally, a dessert that is exciting and healthy! The FroYo Truck’s cool, swirly yogurt combinations may be complemented by Belgian organic waffles as well as fresh fruit.

Frozen Hoagies – A new food truck serving homemade Ice Cream sandwiches… pick your cookie, pick your flavor and enjoy!

Go Fish! – The first food truck by Brother Trucker boasts an array of New England seafood favorites plus American and International classics.

Grilled Cheese Nation – Boston’s Original Grilled Cheese Truck serves up 8 of New England’s most delicious, chef-inspired grilled cheese sandwiches with "shots" of hot tomato soup!

Lobsta Love – Precious lobster rolls and award winning clam chowder – savor the sweet taste of summer all year long.

Mobile Home – A Boston-based food truck offering a selection of thoughtfully prepared dishes inspired by classic home cooking and comfort-style cuisine.

Sweet Truck – Serving up old fashioned, uncomplicated baked treats from your childhood, including apple cider doughnuts and ginger molasses chewy cookies!

Trolley Dogs – Fabulous all-beef pearl hot dogs boiled and grilled with a variety of specialty toppings, plus golden fries and Italian ice.

Woodman’s of Essex – Since 1914 the Woodman family has served up hearty portions of seafood and memories and now they are taking their award winning restaurant on the road with their famous fried clams.


Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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