‘It’s helping us survive’: Businesses roll food trucks into neighborhoods to help stay afloat
From ice cream to pasta, businesses are using food trucks to help reach more customers while also making safety changes inside the vehicles to protect employees
Author: Jamie Bittner (FOX43)
Published: 4:49 PM EDT April 17, 2020
Updated: 6:40 PM EDT April 17, 2020
Want fresh pasta or even a dish of ice cream?
Food trucks are helping many local restaurants reach more customers and keep business flowing as eat-in facilities are shut down and only-accepting take out orders.
Sarah’s Creamery is accepting neighborhood requests through facebook messenger for their ice cream truck. But, the truck will only serve dishes of ice cream, not cones, to help promote social distancing. The creamery’s location on 121 South Main Street also remains open for pick up orders in Dover and has full service of milkshakes and cones.
Meantime, the Rigatoni truck, managed by O.N.E. Hospitality, is delivering fresh bagged pasta and sauce from Tutoni’s that people can cook inside their homes. The truck follows a schedule that includes stops across York County. If business continues to grow owners hope to expand the stops to other counties in the region.
“We just ride around with some Frank Sinatra rolling and me honking the horn,” said Tony Calderone, of O.N.E. Hospitality. “It’s like an adult ice cream truck. But, with pasta.”
O.N.E. Hospitality owns Tutoni’s, The Cantina, Aviano’s, and Presto Pasteria York which are all shut down at this time. The group has decided to offer take out and delivery from all of their businesses at one central location at 350 Rockdale Avenue.
“We tried to keep our core salaried people and do whatever it takes to survive,” said Calderone, who said with the restaurants shutting down nearly 30 people can no longer work including bartenders and wait staff. The consolidated effort of their restaurant and the truck service is part of the group’s effort to make all of their businesses survive. “It’s (the truck) helping us survive and we have to do everything we can to survive.”
The owners of both trucks have put in extra safety precautions in order to protect employees and customers while they conduct food delivery at neighborhoods. Both Sarah’s Creamery and the Rigatoni Truck encourage social distancing in the lines of their customers and the employees wear gloves and masks.
Sarah’s Creamery said most of its customers stand in their driveways instead of lining up when the truck arrives. The creamery also designates one worker to scoop so the person handling the food does not have contact with customers or money.
The credit card machine is attached to the outside of the truck and cash is requested in exact change, which is then collected in a bucket with a 6-foot pole.
“We do have a very high number of requests all over York County,” said Maddie Myers, General Manager of Sarah’s Creamery, who said the company is responding to the neighborhood requests by utilizing both of the two trucks owned by the creamery. “As much as we’re wanted we’re going out.”
Myers added, “doing this (the truck service) is keeping us alive.”
Both businesses send out a large thanks to the customers who have visited their take-out locations and to those who have requested their trucks in their neighborhood.
Calderone is also thanking some customers who place big orders in the Rigatoni truck by providing them with a roll of toilet paper in their order when he can.
It feels like you’ve stepped into your favorite beach town ice cream parlor when you walk into Sarah’s Creamery. Imagine the Beach Boys playing on the porch, a bright and colorful atmosphere and lawn games. Topping lovers, this is your spot. Pick from an array of homemade and Penn State ice cream (Penn State Death by Chocolate is a top seller) and then visit the DIY topping bar to make your one-of-a-kind sundae with options like classic syrups, Gertrude Hawk salty caramel chocolates, or chocolate covered pretzels, plus any candy you can think of. -BB
Cheap Eats: Sarah’s Creamery in Dover serves homemade and Penn State ice cream
Peachy Paterno. Death by Chocolate. Peanut Butter Swirl. The flavors worth waiting for in a line as long as a football field in State College — are now in Dover.
Sarah’s Creamery sells a dozen of Penn State’s Berkey Creamery flavors in addition to more than a dozen other handmade flavors, plus gourmet ices, baked goods and novelty ice-cream treats.
It’s hard to not be drawn to the oasis on South Main Street with its hues of bright blue, purple and soft lime-green, accented by fanciful white lanterns attached to the building. Inside, the same calming color scheme lines the walls with vintage signs and a chic chandelier in one of two dining areas.
Jerry and Ellen Shaffer opened the eatery named after their daughter, Sarah, on April 22. Sarah is a manager at the shop, and she credits her dad for wanting to start a creamery years ago.
As I stood in line on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was 1) thankful the line was shorter than a couple yards and 2) checking out all of the items in a display case. To-go cups of ice cream are priced individually in the case, next to ice-cream sandwiches, ice-cream cookies and ice-cream cakes. You can even get ice-cream sandwiches covered in rainbow sprinkles. And if you don’t see the SpongeBob SquarePants cake your 3-year-old is pining for, a book on top of the case showcases custom options.
As I made my way closer to the scooping station, a chalkboard listed pricing options. Bowls are weighed by the ounce — 47 cents per ounce. Cones are fixed prices, ranging from $1.75 for a baby (half scoop) to $5 for a large, only available in a waffle cone. You can upgrade from a cake cone to a dipped waffle cone, pretzel cone, sugar cone or plain waffle cone for various extra fees.
Since I’ve been wowed by Penn State ice cream before, I wanted to try one of the handmade flavors – opting for Chocolate Hazelnut. Ellen Shaffer said Salted Caramel is a favorite of the handmade options, and Peanut Butter Swirl is a favorite from Penn State. The Facebook site lists flavors are subject to change, but currently some of the most interesting options include: Maple Walnut, Chocolate Raspberry Cup and Apple Cinnamon Pie.
No-sugar-added ice creams are also available, plus gourmet ices, such as mango, watermelon and blue raspberry, which I’d be curious to try on a sweltering day.
OK, I had my cone, I was making my way to the cash register — and then I was distracted. Sarah’s Creamery features two topping bars — one with items that might contain peanuts and one without. From candy to gummies to sauces and hot fudge – it’s a full spread. Now I know why bowls are weighed by the ounce.
If you’re not in the mood for ice cream, the creamery sells pies, in addition to cookies and brownies (99 cents each). Want coffee with your cookie? That’s on the menu, too. Bottled sodas, lemonades and juices are sold in a case. Of course, you can also order milkshakes, malted milkshakes and floats.
My chocolate hazelnut ice cream was rich and creamy – the hazelnut wasn’t overbearing but just set a deeper tone to the chocolate. My only regret – the ice cream ending up on my pants instead of in my mouth. If anyone knows how to master eating a waffle cone, by all means tell me. I am open to suggestions. So are my light-blue jeans.
You can sit in the creamery, or mosey outside to the large front porch, also equipped with tables and chairs. On a sunny afternoon, it’s the ideal spot to sit still, chill with a cold treat and watch cars zoom by – much more relaxing than standing in that State College line.