A van full of eats, ‘Fries on Wheels’, has a dedicated fan following
Panampilly Nagar turns into a cool rendezvous in the evenings with youngsters hanging out at the many eateries that dot the main avenue. Since February this year a new eating option has begun there. A mobile food van, ‘Fries on Wheels’. It drives in every evening parking itself on the side road opposite South Indian Bank dishing out lip-smacking fast food - burgers, nuggets and fries. An organic honey drink is their speciality.
Alpha Ponnu Jose, 25, is at a loss telling everybody that it is not her venture but her parents. “I came up only with the idea, concept and logo,” she says modestly. Her parents Jose Mathew and Mary smile at her attempt to deflect the success story away from her. “But yes, we are all in it together,” says Jose who has been in the food business. He was earlier into catering and ran a bakery in Thoppumpady.
The Joses were toying with the idea of starting a small venture from their home in Chullickal, “as there is ample space.”
Candle making, mushroom farming, paper bag business were just some of their options. But they were impressed by a newer, fresher concept that their kids came up with.
Alpha who has completed her Master’s in Fashion Technology from Manchester together with brother Ben who was pursuing his MBA came up with the idea of serving food from vans, something that they saw commonly in the West. They were encouraged by their father who, along with his wife, put all the modalities together. They bought a van, customised it with freezer, work spaces, shelves, sink and all the requirements for a small kitchen. They hired a driver who doubles up as a helper in serving.
The Joses then meticulously planned a small neat menu. Keeping it simple and tasty is their trump card. A quick bite, something non-fussy and scrumptious. Hence burgers, nuggets and fries are the main items on sale.
Earlier they had plans to serve fried chicken which is a popular choice. But fried chicken would require large fryers that were unviable for a mobile van. “We did a lot of research before we began the enterprise,” says Alpha who also discloses that they did not have many parking options.
Fort Kochi was their first choice but parking was an issue, just as it was at Marine Drive. Panampilly Nagar was most suitable and hence they wheeled in their concept here and it’s been a great choice. The patties, nuggets and fries are from different brands and they have kept the rates affordable as they want more customers to savour their food and service.
Alpha says that comments from customers overwhelm them, like that of a child who implored his mother to take him to ‘Fries on Wheels’ for a bite. Of a mother who wished to have them present at the birthday party of her child. Of a high-ranking official who dropped in after an evening walk, of school kids and college teenagers…Alpha says that they are thrilled at the fact that they are serving food to people from all walks of life.
‘Fries on Wheels’ at Panampilly Nagar is open from 6 p.m to 9 p.m.