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Published Jan 1, 2012 12:00 AM
Start with bacon pancakes. Move on to a tasty Baco Taco. Top it all off with a Lark brownie sprinkled with bacon Nutella bits. It's a little bit of larded heaven, courtesy of one of the sizzling-hot food trucks in America — Lardon.
The idea for this mouth-watering culinary ode to the splendor that is bacon was conceived over a margarita and realized in only 45 days by UCLA grad Heather Crowley M.L.I.S. '10 and her husband, Jeremiah. For Heather, starting a food truck fit nicely with her background.
"My degree was in informatics. The coursework gave me a leg up in how to leverage the social-media stuff and translate into customer engagement and loyalty, business development and sales," she explains. "What I didn't have was the food experience." So she researched the traditional trucks that had been around a long time. "They were very welcoming and let me ride along. I learned some great tricks, like putting a slice of cheese under the pots so they don't slide around as you are driving."
The Lardon menu is all bacon, all the time. Every dish has it. Breakfast, check. Lunch, check. Even the dessert has bacon. All with their own unique sizzle, from frisee sandwich (fried egg, frisee and lardon on a brioche bun) to the BLT (kicked up a notch with St. Agur cheese) to the most popular dish on the truck — the aforementioned Baco Taco.
Why bacon? Since the idea of food trucks was no longer new, the Crowleys needed a concept that would differentiate them from the crowd. "Of the food trucks out there, most are cuisine-focused, not ingredient-focused," Heather says. "So we picked a food we liked and a food we knew lots of people like."
Bacon is the Crowleys' life. They are always thinking of new ways to use it and for new places to source it. Lardon recently celebrated its first birthday, and they have not lost a bit of their passion for the ingredient.
In addition to some great press, Lardon has been featured on CSI: New York, The Protector and even got a great write-up in Car and Driver (where food trucks should be featured). Back in April, the Lardon truck got to drive onto the field at Santa Anita Racetrack. Jeremiah even taught Conan O'Brien how to make a Baco Taco.
The food truck craze isn't going away any time soon. "It is a low-capital way to test a concept and your brand," Heather adds. But the life does have its unique challenges. "There are so many things you can't control. Rain keeps us from working. Finding a space to park the truck can be an issue. And you have mechanical issues that brick-and-mortar restaurants don't face. Like a flat tire."