Two of Houston’s most popular food trucks are finding new opportunities in the city’s northern suburbs. Both Cousins Maine Lobster and The Lucky Fig have announced new permanent locations in Spring and Magnolia, respectively.
Lucky Fig owner Luca Manfé tells CultureMap that his Italian food truck will be permanently located at Deacon Baldy’s, a new food truck park and bar that opened in Magnolia last weekend. The Masterchef season four winner says he overcame his initial skepticism about the area once he realized the benefits of the opportunity.
“As you know, my first six months with the truck were a nightmare, because the truck broke down constantly. I believe in Houston it is getting harder and harder to have a good location,” Manfé says. “Also, I saw that my food works much better when there’s a set location when people know they’re going to find me.”
Manfé says he’s tweaked the menu to be more compatible with a bar by turning his meatballs into meatball sliders, for example, and adding a sausage sandwich on a pretzel bun, but he'll still serve housemade pastas like ravioli and sandwiches on freshly baked bread. The truck utilizes Texas ingredients, including pork from Black Hill Ranch and mozzarella cheese from Lira Rossa in Moulton that Manfé calls “the creamiest I ever tried in my life.”
Both the Craft Burger food truck (helmed by Chopped winner Shannen Tune) and Cousins Maine Lobster will join The Lucky Fig at Deacon Baldy’s, but that’s not the only new outpost for the Shark Tank-backed lobster truck that’s been a smash success since it arrived in Houston last year. Cousins has also opened a permanent location at Bernie’s Backyard in Spring.
“We chose Bernie's for a couple of different reasons,” says Cousins Houston vice president Eric Williams. “It's in a great location right off I-45, which produces a lot of traffic. Bernie's facilities and staff are top notch . . . They have a great following in the North Houston area, so it just made sense to partner with them.”
The Cousins trailer offers the same menu as the trucks, including the signature lobster rolls. New items like lobster grilled cheese have also proven popular, Williams says.
Even as Cousins franchisee Neil Werner has grown to Dallas and San Antonio, Williams says the company still doesn’t have plans to add a brick and mortar, but that’s not the case for Manfé. If serving at Deacon Baldy’s proves successful, the chef says he’ll begin looking for a location in The Woodlands.
“Let’s see how it goes. We’ll give it two or three more months,” Manfé says. “Definitely, the restaurant will need to happen in a year. Besides Cousins Maine Lobster, I don’t know anyone who’s getting rich in a food truck. Beyond getting rich, it would be nice to have a more regular business.”