Jae Stulock and Sandy Madachik were packing their bags to move to Boulder to launch a food truck business. The business partners had heard how difficult it was to set up shop in Cleveland so they had no intent to even try. Before skipping town, however, they learned about the City of Cleveland's program to encourage more mobile dining options. In six short days they assembled the necessary application paperwork and were accepted into the program.
Madachik, a former office manager at an IT firm, and Stulock, a carpenter for a construction company, launched Umami Moto in early November.
"I have always wanted to get into the food business," explains Stulock. "Cooking has always been a passion of mine. Following the downturn in the construction business, I said, 'Now's the time.'"
Working from a fully equipped rig purchased in Los Angeles, the partners are quickly building a following for their Thai, Vietnamese and Asian-fusion fare. The concise menu features pad Thai with tofu (or chicken, or shrimp), massaman curry on rice, pork potstickers, and a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich made with pulled pork.
"We use pulled pork instead of roast pork as a bridge to get people who may be unfamiliar with Asian flavors to try something new," he says of his Asian-fusion style sandwich.
There are options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free customers.
"Business is going really well," adds Jae. "Being outside in winter isn't too pleasant, but I come from construction so I'm used to it. We didn't want to start in summer and be inundated. Launching in winter gives us a chance to grow our customer base, streamline our systems, and ease into the business."
Umami Moto roams all over Greater Cleveland. Diners can track down its every move via Facebook www.facebook.com/UmamiMoto and Twitter @UmamiMoto.