Does Ellen Huggins have the greatest job in the world? She thinks so.
Ellen mans the Sprinklesmobile, a version of the gourmet cupcake shop that started in Los Angeles and has spread to Houston and beyond. But there's one big difference between the Sprinklesmobile and every other food truck roaming the streets: This truck gives everything away for free.
"The most exciting part is when you have a mom and she's ordering three cupcakes for her kids and so frazzled and as she reaches for her wallet, I'm like, 'You can put that away, these are free,' " Huggins says. "People get really confused, but then they're excited."
Created for outreach and mobile catering in food-truck-obsessed LA, the Sprinklesmobile is now an extension of the brand around the country. It's been on a two-week stint in Houston. She's been all around town — at Discovery Green, Rice Village, the Williams Tower — ending her stay with giveaways in the Texas Medical Center and the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Friday.
I caught up with the vivacious Huggins at West Ave, where well-dressed women lured by the Tootsies shopping event snuck outside for a red velvet or banana cupcake (or sometimes both). Huggins says her best crowds in Houston have been at Rice Village and the University of Houston.
"I got there and there was really nowhere to park except one meter strip in the middle of the parking lot area, and I didn't know if anyone was going to find me or walk over. But once there were a couple people there, they were texting their friends and it ended up being huge." Huggins says.
College students and free food — who would have thought.
Huggins picks up the cupcakes fresh in-store, but the Sprinklesmobile is also expanding to give a taste of the brand to new markets. Saturday morning she's loading up in Houston and heading to Austin for a day of giveaways, then making her way to Dallas that night. After refilling in Dallas, the Sprinklesmobile is making its first trip to Oklahoma City, the hometown of founder Charles Nelson.
Have you seen the Sprinkles truck?