CROWN HEIGHTS — They are nomads no more.
Whether for first time edible entrepreneurs or longtime city kitchens looking to expand the reach of a famous name, food trucks are the commercial vehicle of the city's foodie vanguard.
But while many have added a truck to an already successful venture, few have spun from wheels to bricks — and those who have do it disproportionately in Central Brooklyn.
"For me, it was all about confidence — I would never have had the confidence to dive right into a restaurant," said Mike Jacober, owner of the popular Morris Grilled Cheese truck and now Glady's, the enigmatic new restaurant on Franklin Avenue that spent its first two months in Crown Heights daring eaters to find it open.
Glady's started nightly dinner service last week and will begin serving lunch from Monday.
"Opening a food truck was much lower risk, much lower capital, and it allowed me to see how the behind-the-scenes of a food business works. Once I was able to see that and hire people who could help me see my vision, I definitely felt comfortable taking the leap to a bigger investment and a bigger venture."
Central Brooklyn has proved fertile ground for the food truck business. Grand Army Plaza is home to the popular weekly food truck rally, and Jacober joins the ranks of Phillip Lee of Kimchi Grill on Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, who spun out of a successful truck in to a bustling brick-and-mortar business last year.
"We started looking on Washington, got involved in a bidding process, then we were looking on Atlantic Avenue, but that fell apart, and this space just miraculously popped up," Jacober said of his circuitous route to Franklin Avenue. "To have two spaces ready to go and have them ripped out from beneath you i was pretty devastating. This one happened to be really perfect and I really would have been heartbroken had it not worked out."
Though it may never be a path, Brooklyn's elite ranks of tires-to-timber restaurants have seen some serious success. Even as its fixed location flourishes, the Red Hook Lobster Pound was recently voted the top food truck in America.
"Having the cooking equipment that we have in the restaurant allows us to express our vision — we can be much more creative," Jacober said. "I knew that the food truck would be a great incubator."