Despite Texas's solidly German heritage, Houston boasts only a handful of restaurants, a fact I've often lamented. If my favorite spot, King's Biergarten, were any closer to town, I would probably spend way too much time there.
Though the cuisine might seem a bit antiquated by today's standards, there is just something very appealing about a stein of beer with good company over spaetzle and brats. It's a simple cuisine that goes surprisingly underappreciated in Houston.
This week someone forwarded me an interesting Kickstarter project. Der Brat Bus is a German food truck concept looking to start business in Houston soon. According to its Kickstarter page, Der Brat Bus "features popular food items such as brats, warm pretzels, currywurst, the hot new sensation from Berlin, Ketwurst, and appropriate sides such as sauerkraut, red cabbage, German potato salad and spaetzle."
I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me. As much as I enjoy the wilder fusion-style food trucks, one of the very best things about food carts, trucks and other small operations is their ability to bring ethnic and niche cuisine to market. German food in Houston currently qualifies as niche.
Another upside to the proposed menu: The truck could possibly run its kitchen on an all-electric setup. This would allow the truck to circumvent the current regulations, which -- unlike in any other major city in America -- inexplicably ban propane-equipped trucks from operating in downtown Houston.
Now here's the curious part: The Kickstarter page is only asking for $2,000, an amount well short of the average start-up for a food truck. As anyone who has worked in the market will tell you, costs can exceed six figures depending on your kitchen requirements, permitting, medallions and other costs.
Ryan Soroka, one of the founders of The Eatsie Boys truck -- which recently graduated to its first brick-and-mortar location -- says that even a "dirt cheap" approach can have costs in excess of $25,000.
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"Some trucks are/were in excess of $100,000," Soroka said.
I've reached out to project author Donald Hennig, who currently lives in Peoria, Illinois, but have yet to hear back. I hope to ask Hennig what exactly the $2,000 will fund and when he expects to be operational, and will update the post if I hear back from him.