Locale Profile: Red’s Food Truck

Local food trucks rotate their menu, but none provide the range of street fare that Red’s does. “We don’t have a set menu,” says chef Max Reeves. “It depends where we go and what ingredients are available. We’ve done pasta, seafood, BBQ, cheesesteak, you name it.” Max is originally from Cumberland, but he worked in a series of fine dining restaurants in Boston. There he met his now-partner in Red’s, fellow chef Ryan Connors. Max had the idea of a truck kicking around in his head for years. He’d always look at the ones outside the restaurant in Boston where he worked, and want to do it himself. When the time was right, he moved back to RI with his wife and two kids and started Red’s.

Their first event was the Craft Brew Races in Newport in July 2016. People do laps around Fort Adams, and then enjoy food and a 50-tent beer garden. Now a year later, Max and Ryan are reaping growing crowds and sales. The biggest challenges? “Truck maintenance,” says Max. “Engine trouble isn’t really something you worry about at a restaurant.” As a food truck, the logistics are different for Red’s. Aside from maintaining the truck, there’s health permits, inspections, certificates, planning food supplies, etc. All this has given Max a new appreciation for his old bosses in Boston, and for the red tape balancing act that goes with running food service.

The name Red’s comes from the Rhode Island Red. The truck is red, and the graphic work is done in-house. Currently, it’s courtesy of Max’s sister and wife. Red’s gets its produce from locally sourced farms, some of them in Warren. For their meat or seafood needs, they’ll go to a bigger supplier. Red’s menu is always changing, and they try not to lock themselves down to a style. This ensures a different culinary experience when you go, and the menu has changed. Most other trucks in the area don’t have that kind of variety.

The best part about Red’s? “It’s great to be outside all day,” says Max. “Not some backroom kitchen for eight to 12 hours with only a half hour break. You get more direct customer service and feedback, too. It’s more personal. When someone likes the food, they come back up to the truck and tell you.” Red’s does street service, events, festivals and even private catering. They’re constantly getting inquiries from companies about serving at their events. Max and Ryan want to continue to grow the business into a proper shop/commissary. Currently, they’re part of the Hope and Main food service startups. They rent space and get access to essentials, but aspire to a place of their own. Right now when Red’s goes somewhere new, Max has to research things like where they can dump their grey water.

Summer’s almost over, but the season isn’t over for the boys at Red’s. They’ll keep the truck going until it’s too cold to work. Last year it was around December before what they were using started freezing in the truck. They’ll take some time to wait out the snow, and gear up for 2018 after that. You can follow Red’s location on FoodtrucksIn, and don’t forget to follow them on social media to find out what they’re serving up this week.

To see the current locations of local food trucks, visit motifri.com/food-truck-locator, brought to you by FoodTrucksIn RI (foodtrucksin.com), a Providence-based company allowing users to find local food trucks or food trucks in over 1,300 cities nationwide.

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