Food Truck: Ozzie's own 'kitchen on wheels'
Popular Hinsdale restaurant hits the streets with renovated food truck
HINSDALE — Alan and Tracey Lussier, owners of Ozzie's Steak and Eggs, were eagerly awaiting April.
"It was going to be the best month for us ever — we had three parties booked," Alan said in a phone interview Thursday.
Then, in mid-March, COVID-19 hit the region and non-essential businesses were closed. Restaurants were limited to offering only take-out food.
"We were shut down and didn't know what it's effect would be on the business," he said. "So, we got ready for whatever was coming." He added Ozzie's usually serves food at the Berkshire Craft Beer Festival and at car shows behind the restaurant during the summer, "and now that's not going to happen."
Getting ready for "whatever" included making renovations to the restaurant — and $5,000 in renovations to their catering truck.
"The truck [and the catering business] was in limbo when the pandemic hit, so we remodeled it after doing the restaurant," he said. "We put in new floors and it was looking good." The truck, which is 20 feet long, "is a full kitchen on wheels," Alan said, with a stove, grill, refrigerators and freezers.
The couple decided to take the truck on the road, currently serving customers in a space at Corrupt Concepts on Hubbard Avenue in Dalton, across from UPS.
"We were lucky to have the trailer, so we could do this," Alan said. "Scott Hall, owner of Corrupted Concepts, is letting us use the space. We're helping each other with business." He said five motorcyclists from Connecticut became lost on Wednesday and came upon the food truck, where they had lunch, and, in the process, were exposed to Corrupt Concepts, a hotrod and motorcycle fabrication and designs company.
The food truck offers lobster rolls (they sold out last Wednesday and 15 had been ordered for Thursday), grilled chicken pitas, fish, double cheeseburgers, French fries and sausage — to name just a few menu items. The double cheeseburger is $5 and the lobster rolls are $17, although the lobster price may change depending on the day's market price. Also available, and must be pre-ordered, are orders of fried full-belly clams, served with French fries and coleslaw for $19 to $22, again depending on the market price.
People can visit Ozzie's Food Truck on Facebook, facebook.com/Ozzies-Food-Truck-106490461077977, to find out where the truck will be and what's going to be on the menu.
"It changes per place, per day," Alan said.
Special orders can be filled with advance notice. "We cater to people's needs. I like to make people happy with my food. It's a good feeling when people thank you for their food. I've been in business for 35 years. I love what I do, and I love people, and I love cooking," he said.
The food truck adheres to social distancing guidelines and requires customers to wear face masks. There is hand sanitizer available for customers' use. Inside the truck, the employees also wear face masks and the food is packed to go.
"Nothing crosses anything," Alan said. "Once it's out of the trailer, it doesn't come back in.
"People see us on Facebook and see what we're doing and they appreciate it," he said. "We're thankful for our customers supporting us. Thanks to everybody."
Once the restaurant is open again, he said he plans to continue the food truck. The restaurant has an outside deck and a grass area, which Alan said he'll use to slowly start opening once the green light is given. In the meantime, Ozzie's is open for takeout orders.
Lussier credits his wife, Tracey, for running the show, saying she is the one who does all the management and public relations work.
"Ozzie's is the brand, and the brand is what the customers see, but she is the brand," he said. She, in turn, credits the staff at Ozzie's, "We have the best staff. Eighty percent of them have been with us for over 10 years — and in this business, that's very rare," she said.
"It'll come back," Alan said of business at the restaurant. "When this is over, everyone will be ready to come back and be with people."
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