Food Truck Junction on Tap this weekend

Published 11:34 am Friday, December 4, 2015

NW1204 Food 4X8
Food trucks, carts and trailers have been well-established for years in such cities as Seattle, New York and Asheville, and have now rolled into East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. To celebrate this phenomenon of edible diversity, local owners have come together to create the first ever Tri-Cities Food Truck Junction, a savory sampling extravaganza.
The event will take place outside of the Next Night Club at 820 W. Walnut St. in Johnson City Saturday from Noon to 10 p.m. The public is invited to taste some of the region’s most diverse local foods and to meet the cooks “behind the wheel.”
Among more than 15 of these eateries is the Elizabethton-based Spanqui’s truck, whose menu is the convergence of New York-style and Spanish cuisine, with a southern twist.
“I love to cook, and I like good food, so I wanted to offer something from New York that’s unique and authentic,” said owner Kiecia West.
Everything on the menu is made fresh on the truck, West said, and most ingredients are sourced directly from New York, like the bread, spices, cheeses and hotdogs.
The name derives from her background and the styles or food she offers, and is a combination of the words Spanish and Yankee, though she has Italian background as well.
On the menu at the junction, she will be plating up a cornucopia of delectable options like Cuban paninis, chicken or beef empanadas, chicken tortilla soup, chicken tamales with salsa verde, meatball subs, southern fried pies, Spanish hot chocolate and their famous white chocolate amaretto bread pudding.
Owning and operating a food truck may seem like a footloose, freewheeling line of work, but behind the scenes, West said they stay busy. Aside from her affiliation with Betsytowne Mercantile in downtown Elizabethton, she also fills the shoes of an owner, manager, chef and public relations representative for Spanqui’s.
“It’s a lot of work to maintain and we work in a very small space,” she said. “We have to be very organized and have to be fast.”
West and her daughter, Alyssa Perez, cook everything. Because they prepare all the food to order, she said it may take a few minutes for food to come out the window. According to West, it is worth the wait because every item on the menu is prepared with the healthiest ingredients from New York or from Whole Foods.
“We don’t pre-make any of our food and use only the freshest ingredients,” she said. “We want our menu to be healthy and fresh, because that’s what you get in New York.”
Currently, residents may find the truck in Downtown Johnson City, though West said she is looking for a location to park the restaurant in Elizabethton.
Other featured venders are:
•Backdraft BBQ (Gate City, VA)
•B & B BBQ (Gray, TN)
•The Caribbean Grill (Johnson City, TN)
•Cha Cha’s (Kingsport, TN)
•Foodie Fiction (Piney Flats, TN)
•HellYa TN Hot Dogs (Kingsport, TN)
•Jae’s Smoked Meat Shack (Bristol, VA)
•Just Write (Greeneville, TN)
•KB’z Kitchen (Bristol, VA)
•Me & K’s (Johnson City, TN)
•Mona Lisa’s Gelato (Johnson City, TN)
•My Father’s Table (Kingsport, TN)
•Top Dog Hot Dogs (Greeneville, TN)

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