The Salsa Truck detours to The Garage

  • The front end of The Garage, the new venue for The Salsa Truck.
The front end of The Garage, the new venue for The Salsa Truck.
May 21, 2013|By JoVona Taylor | RedEye

Fans of The Salsa Truck will soon be able to follow it to The Garage, its very own venue opening in the West Loop on May 29.

The Mexican-inspired food truck hit the streets in late January as the first food truck to obtain a Mobile Food Preparer license, which allows food to be cooked onboard.

Chef and owner of The Salsa Truck and The Garage, Dan Salls, said his passion for cooking and love for Mexican street food is what inspired him to ditch his former job as a financial adviser and go into the food truck business.

While developing his idea for The Salsa Truck, Salls said he found it difficult to find a reasonably priced commissary, a space that all food trucks must have to park after closing and prepare food. That led him to create his own place, and thus The Garage was born.

The Garage will function as a restaurant, retail shop, night-time hangout spot and commissary all in one.

The front end of the space will serve as a lunch counter from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as a multi-use space for activities such as salsa-making classes and pop-up events in the evening. A retail area will sell vintage records, take-home items from The Salsa Truck and items from other local companies.

The actual garage where The Salsa Truck will be parked is at the back of the venue. “It’s a very unique space and there is nothing like this that I know of,” he said. “[The venue] is a garage but also a comfortable space with home-style food cooked without pretension.”

Salls also said that much like the food truck, The Garage will offer a variety of special meals daily, depending on the season, with tacos and quesadillas always on the menu. A meal at the new venue will be around $10, he said.

Now that The Salsa Truck and The Garage are taking off, Salls said his next challenge will be getting other food trucks involved at the venue.

“It’s tough for food trucks and The Garage can help us all make more money,” he said. “I don’t want it to be about just us, but about helping the whole [food truck] community.”

Salls said he would like other food truck owners to use the restaurant and prepare their menu items for customers on specific days at The Garage.

Although the inclusion of other Chicago food trucks at the venue is still in the works, Salls said that updates and announcements on The Garage and The Salsa Truck can be found at thesalsatruck.com.

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