Food truck. Mac-and-cheese. Pittsburgh. What could go wrong?
So thought Tim Tassone. The seasoned chef (Sewickley Hotel, Map Room, Café Phipps) was primed to realize his dream of delivering creamy, gourmet starch-and-dairy curbside. But even this former mortgage-industry worker couldn't get banks behind him.
Eventually, Tassone turned to private investors. His golden Mac & Gold truck rolls this week.
Mac-and-cheese is classic comfort food, and Tassone, 36, touts his proprietary sauce made from four local cheeses. But he also recognizes the allure of toppings. He's got Lobster Mac ("the ‘prime rib' on the menu"), Eggplant Parmesan and a Pittsburgh Cheesesteak Mac.
There'll be other a la carte protein and veg options, and even gluten-free pasta and, for dairy-avoiders, flavored olive oil instead of cheese. Sides include rosemary-garlic frites and a salad accented with quinoa and grapefruit.
Tassone, of Mount Washington, and co-founder Athena CE will staff the 23-foot truck (a 2008 Ford step van) at "a healthy rotation of lunch spots," he says. They'll also cater and hit events and private parties.
As of last week, before spooning a noodle, he had more than 1,000 Twitter followers.
But isn't mac-and-cheese a little sloppy for street food? Mac & Gold will serve in snack-size cups or meal-size containers — paper-based, leak-proof, microwavable and single-flapped for convenience. "You can walk away one-handed," says Tassone.