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Food Truck Rises From Dead

Popular food truck comes back from the dead — with graffiti 'tude — to shake up Houston's restaurant scene

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2 The Modular food truck February 2014
Daniel Anguilu's bold design will set The Modular apart from other trucks on the street.  Photo by Eric Sandler
3 The Modular food truck February 2014
Modular owner Joshua Martin poses with Houston graffiti arist Daniel Anguilu. Photo by Eric Sandler
1 The Modular food truck February 2014
Another angle on The Modular's new look.  Photo by Eric Sandler
4 The Modular food truck February 2014
The Modular's "ghetto oven" will use induction to heat the bone marrow.  Photo by Eric Sandler
2 The Modular food truck February 2014
3 The Modular food truck February 2014
1 The Modular food truck February 2014
4 The Modular food truck February 2014

At a time when established food truck are looking to move to permanent spaces, Goro & Gun co-owner Joshua Martinez has decided to revive his truck The Modular using a second truck he had originally purchased to sell wings instead of The Modular's original trailer.

Why would he increase the daily stress level associated with running a restaurant by adding a food truck? With his typical frankness, Martinez provides a succinct explanation.

"I'm crazy and stupid. That's pretty much why."

 "I've had great conversations with the head of the food truck division . . . It makes me feel like I’m no longer a pirate out on the sea with food."  

Or is he crazy like a fox? Martinez has noticed that the emergence of food truck parks and an improved attitude from city regulators towards trucks has changed the landscape in Houston.

"The health department is very on board with food trucks," Martinez tells CultureMap . "I’ve had great conversations with the head of the food truck division . . . It makes me feel like I’m no longer a pirate out on the sea with food."

Another benefit of reviving the food truck will be exposing the restaurant's menu to a wider audience. "Sometimes people are scared to come downtown, so I’ll just bring it to you," Martinez explains. 

The Modular has already lined up spots at the Mangum Food Park and Liberty Station. "I’m sure we’ll be going out to Hwy 6 and then coming next door to us at the one next to Meridian . . . We will talk to the museums to get on their roster," he adds. 

While Martinez can't pry The Modular's former chef Lyle Bento away from his position at Underbelly, he didn't have to look far to find someone. Martinez's roommate, Mark Parmley, whose resume include stints at The Capitol at Saint Germain, Ciao Bello and El Big Bad, will be running the truck until he returns to Alaska this summer to cook at a fishing camp.

"It will be a great scenario to train some of our young, up and coming guys who want to transfer from the garde manger to the line . . . (Also,) the guys who want to take a break away from the hecticness of our restaurant kitchen can go get their butts kicked on a food truck."

The truck's menu will mix some Goro & Gun items like the restaurant's Brussels sprouts, Japanese hot pocket and dead rapper wings with classic Modular dishes like lobster risotto and roasted bone marrow. Some dishes may require special equipment. "We’ve been building what we call a 'ghetto oven' with Spencer Elliott. He’s been working with us trying to figure out how to make this work," Martinez says.

While the original Modular trailer had a no frills looks, the new truck makes a strong visual statement thanks to a paint job from Houston graffiti artist Daniel Anguilu, who's also known as "weah."    

Martinez says he's been a fan of Anguilu's work for years and really wanted to work with him. "I wanted something totally different. What better way to get back out on the streets with something that’s so bright and stands out . . . It’s got a lot of geometric shapes, colors. The black outlines are really what he’s known for in his work."

The truck has already passed city inspection. Expect to see it on the road in the next week or two.

Martinez says he'll be splitting his time between Goro & Gun and shifts on the truck. "I’ll be there for at least the first few weeks," he says. "You won’t be able to get me away. I’ll be on that truck. I’ve got to. I want to. It's in my blood."

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