We had the good fortune of connecting with Cara DeLalla and we’ve shared our conversation below (Post by Shoutout atlanta)
Hi Cara, what do you attribute your success to?
The success of our brand goes beyond the food. The relationships and bonds we create with our customers runs as deep as family. We remember your face, your name, your order because we genuinely care about every person who walks through our doors. When you dine at Meatballerz, you can genuinely taste the love in the food. We pour our heart and soul into everything we do and always strive to be better even when it seems there’s no room for improvement.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Sacrifice. That’s what sets me apart from others. Most people don’t realize there has been little to no personal gain when it comes to owning my own company. I have sacrificed many of the things that gave me an identity to pursue my dreams of owning a restaurant. Most weeks, I work between 70-80 hours. I rarely see my friends and family. I have slept on a couch. Didn’t know how I would put gas in my tank. In the end, it is the sacrifices I have made that got me to where I am today. My genuine love for food and passion for customer service is important but my willingness to do what it takes to make is at the core of my success. Our first food truck broke down dozens of times and was even stolen last summer. There’s times where we didn’t know how we would buy food. This is problem solving at its finest and the challenges we face are a necessary part of the game.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, where are some spots they could take them?
The cool thing about Atlanta is no two neighborhoods or experiences are the same. I think it’s important to experience every nook and cranny. The people, places, and food you find in each neighborhood varies. These days I find myself enjoying West Midtown for the hangs, East Atlanta for some of the best bites and drinks. Little Trouble is relatively new to the scene but definitely worth checking out for the craft cocktails, cool vibes, and great music. It’s the perfect place for a cocktail with friends. I would then head over to the rooftop at Ponce City Market because who doesn’t love carnival games and rides? There’s something nostalgic about doing the things you did as a kid as an adult. You can also grab some great nosh at Ponce City but you’re definitely going to pay top dollar. If we’re feeling hungry, I would rather head over to an underground gem called Octopus Bar. It’s in East Atlanta at the back of another restaurant. They are only open from 10:30p-2:30a so be prepared to eat late. The menu consists of Vietnamese style small plates. The last stop of the evening would have to be the classic Claremont Lounge because, why not? It doesn’t hurt to also checkout the awesome hotel renovations and Tiny Lous.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout to my business partner who also happens to be my mother, Catherine DeLalla. She has been a constant source of inspiration and support throughout this journey. It’s no secret she comes equipped with the family recipes and overseas all of the cooking in our kitchen. Beyond her involvement in the day to day business, she provides much needed encouragement on days when I have wanted to give up. She always supports our dream and her steadfast belief in Meatballerz has helped me stay motivated. Two years ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. Despite her diagnosis, she put up a fight and pushed through it while continuing to work. I am lucky to have a strong, female mentor, partner, and friend to share this journey with.
Dominic's Wood Fired specialized in real wood fired brick oven cuisine. They don't use gas or propane. They specialize in Neapolitan pizzas and also serve pizzas, bbq, tacos, burgers, steak, salmon, loaded tots, and a whole lot more. They cook and prepare everything from their wood fired brick over.
The Napolitano family has over 30 years of experience in food and service and still has family in New York who owns many pizzerias. They launched Dominic's Wood Fired Food Truck in 2013. Inspired by the budding food truck movement in Georgia, they wanted to do something unique and different by putting in a wood fire over in a truck.
"We wanted to be able to bring that experience [enjoying food from a wood fired over] to the customer,” Dominic Napolitano said. Being from Brooklyn, they have marinara sauce running through their veins, and they knew they could start selling authentic NY style pizza right away.
They enjoy their food truck business because they love being able to bring the experience to the customers. They are able to be versatile and cater anything from small private gatherings to large weddings. Dominic says that his favorite chef is British chef, writer, television personality, restaurateur, and food critic Gordon Ramsey. Outside of working on the food truck, he enjoying spending time with his family.
“Family is important,” he said.
“I am also a painter,” Dominic added.
“You have to have a unique concept with good food and Great Customer service. You can't just have good food you have to know the business side and know how to market yourself to get the calls coming in and build referrals.
To learn more about Atlanta’s premier mobile wood fired brick oven food truck, and about how you can bring Dominic’s Wood to your next event, visit their website. Contact Paige at Food With Purpose for information about booking!
King Kabob, LLC operates the King Kabob Food Truck and the BBQ King Food Truck. They serve “American kabobs”, including those with steak, chicken, veggies, chicken & waffles, BBQ ribs, brisket, and more. Following the completion of his BS in Food and Nutrition Management in 2015, Chase Davis founded King Kabob, LLC, “My initial goal was to open a restaurant but the overhead was extremely high and I knew getting great employees would be difficult, so I thought about what I could do in the food service industry that I could have the most control over and the idea of owning a Food Truck was born.”
After brainstorming with his family, Chase decided to serve food that no-one else already was, and that he enjoyed eating. He wanted it to be a memorable menu that let his creativity blossom. America-style Kabobs are where they landed. As for the second truck, Chase states that he was able to use his experience in business to determine what would be successful in Atlanta, and also mentioned that it did not hurt that BBQ is one of his favorites.
Chris likes the flexibility of being an entrepreneur. On his truck, he calls the shots, and is responsible for its successes and failures. He strives for perfection, so that his customers remember their stop as their favorite food-truck experience.
As far as role-models go, Chase is influenced by his mother, among other supporters who have been successful in their careers. “I meet and mimic some of the things they do well, and I also look at those that are not advancing and I try to learn from their mistakes,” recounts Chris.
His favorite celebrity chef, is none other than Savannah area-local, Joe Randall, who cooks some “really delicious soul food.” Chase also appreciates his medium for serving: for about 20 people, over 5 courses. “I met him in December of 2014 as I was graduating from college and I told him my plan. Six months later… I made it happen.”
Support Chase’s dream and enjoy some of his deliciously creative Kabobs or brisket with all the fixings. Book King Kabob with Food With Purpose.
"Somewhere in Atlanta, people in need are going to get a meal prepared by legends U.S. Rep. John Lewis and NBA star Vince Carter.The civil rights icon and 22-season ballplayer were among the more than 5,000 volunteers who filled State Farm Arena on Saturday to prepare a million meals that will be distributed to locals through seven organizations.
The event was hosted by State Farm and the Atlanta Hawks, with help from the group Feeding Children Everywhere, which aims to feed those in need around the world in a healthy and sustainable way.
The goal was to alleviate food insecurity, said State Farm spokeswoman Kim Wade, who spent six months planning the event. “We wanted to do something more than write a check,” she said."
Read the full article by clicking the link below.
By Kathy Harvatt
Kerry Meier has a passion for “feeding people” – a passion she has fully embraced as the co-owner of Low-co-Motion, a farm-to-food truck business that is fast building a loyal family of followers – not to mention a five-star rating – along the highways and byways of North Georgia.
Her journey into Atlanta’s food truck community actually began several years ago in Charleston, South Carolina, where she found her inspiration working in restaurants that specialized in Low Country “scratch cooking” with fresh, locally sourced ingredients – from produce to seafood. In fact, as Kerry is quick to point out, “the farm-to-table movement there totally changed my perspective around cooking and eating.”
After forming a partnership with two of her Charleston colleagues, Kerry put together a successful business plan for mobilizing a “restaurant business on wheels” that would serve farm-fresh, Low Country comfort food.
“Everything was coming together nicely until both of my partners conked out on me just eight weeks before the money was supposed to drop. I pouted for a year and a half after that happened.”
But fate eventually intervened when Kerry’s brother-in-law Jason Jewett, an experienced restauranteur in Atlanta, proposed that she join forces with him to get a farm-to-food truck up and running there. Intrigued by the prospect, they embarked on an exploratory mission to Charleston, which brought them even closer to sealing the deal. And less than 90 days later – on Friday the 13th, 2016, no less – a flatbed arrived in Georgia with their “Big Blue” truck on board – a lucky delivery that gave birth to Low-Co-Motion, their increasingly successful mobile food service and events catering enterprise.
According to Kerry, it is the hardest job she’s ever had. “But I also love what I do. I am essentially my own boss given that the only person I have to check in with is my partner. And I can pick and choose where and how I source my ingredients and experiment with new variations on traditional Low-Country cooking. Food is so culturally sensitive, if you will, and I really enjoy creating that connection for others.”
The Low-Co-Motion menu features an enticing assortment of sandwiches, soups and sides, made with love and a distinctly gourmet twist. For example, Kerry’s OMG BLT is anything but ho-hum, with its hand-candied brown sugar and cayenne bacon and homemade roasted garlic aioli; hydroponic Bibb lettuce and locally grown tomatoes. Likewise, Low-Co-Motion rotates its selections on a seasonal basis; and with winter almost here, Kerry is expanding their soup menu from three to eleven revolving varieties.
Of course, as with any innovative business, there are always challenges along the way to success. In the food truck industry, they are, for the most part, regulatory in nature, given that most brick and mortar restaurants view these mobile eateries as “unfair” competition, given their inherently lower overhead. So, food truck owners are often hit with regulatory fees that take a sizeable bite out of their profits.
“Here in Atlanta, you must not only be invited to park, but also pay for the privilege with permit and lot fees that can run upwards of $200 a day. On top of that, we have to have a brick and mortar commercial kitchen. Up until now, as members of the The Food Movement group, we have shared a commissary kitchen – along with a lot of mutual support – with more than a dozen other truck owners. But since we’re going to need our own space soon, we are already looking around in some of the older strip malls close to home for something we can afford.”
Still, determined to keep moving, Kerry and Jason continue to open new avenues for customized events catering – such as movie sets and corporate lunches – while also finding ways to give back to their North Georgia community by donating healthy food to those in need. As Kerrie puts it, “I loathe the idea of letting anyone go hungry – which is why feeding people is so ingrained in me. And this business allows us to do that on our terms.”
So, for now, the Low-Co-Motion partners will leave the regulatory battles to someone else, as they follow their culinary passion from the farm to the truck to the tables of Atlanta.
Paige Nathan joined the MPI Georgia Chapter in November 2018 and is the Chief of Food Trucks at Food with Purpose – Culinary Events on Wheels. Founded in 2015, this Atlanta-based premier food truck catering connector has a passion for bringing people together. She is a culinary entrepreneur and promotes locally sourced food. Partnering with the most sought-after food trucks in the “ATL” and around the country, the Food with Purpose team provides distinctive culinary events for 50 to 5,000 guests in both indoor and outdoor settings. From employee appreciation days, grand openings, and professional meetings to community gatherings and family celebrations, Paige delivers seamless culinary experiences without all the fuss and muss of traditional catering. And, no kitchens required.
She firmly believes there is no greater purpose than building strong, sustainable communities. As such, Paige actively partners with clients to incorporate eco-friendly products at their events as well as tapping into other food truck owners who also rely on locally sourced foods. Whenever possible, the team coordinates opportunities to donate funds and even leftover food to those in need. In her down time, Paige volunteers with Slow Food Atlanta, The Giving Kitchen, and Wholesome Wave. Colleagues, clients, and food truck partners describe Paige as energetic, thoughtful, responsive, and passionate about what she does.
Paige and the Food with Purpose team have developed an impressive client list which includes Home Depot, Mercedes Benz, Atlanta Falcons, IHG, Georgia State University, and Bluecat Productions (Netflix's Ozark) establishing a reputation for providing responsive, timely, and efficient services from start to finish. Food with Purpose was also selected to participate as a preferred vendor for the Super Bowl XLIII Business Connect program which was a definite highlight for Paige...
Prior to starting Food with Purpose, Paige worked as a non-profit fundraiser and event planner in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Atlanta. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from University of Vermont and a Master of Education from The American University. On weekends, Paige can be found exploring farmers markets, ethnic restaurants, festivals, and spending time hiking with her family and dog, Ty. She’s one of those people who has never met a stranger and wouldn't love to connect – especially if she can help you deliver a memorable food truck event. Feel free to contact Paige at firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 480-6401.