Duluth-based food truck returns for 11th season
Shrimp po'boys and Cajun shrimp tacos are coming soon to the Rambler.
DULUTH — Over the past decade, The Rambler helped blaze the way for food trucks across the Twin Ports area. Joining the ranks of pioneers such as KBQ and Chow Haul, it arrived in the area at a time when food trucks were sparse.
Now, its 11th season has kicked off April 25, followed by Bent Paddle Brewing Co.'s Festiversary last weekend. With one of their largest annual events under their belts, staff say it's smooth sailing through the end of the season in early November.
"We have a lot of fun events on the books," said Kelsey Auran, the office manager, event coordinator and jack-of-all-trades at MidCoast Catering and The Rambler.
Both businesses are owned by Jonathan Reznick, who created the menu inspired by nostalgic fare — elevated, with a twist.
"You can't go wrong with anything on our menu," Auran said.
Some fan favorites include the teriyaki pulled pork, slow roasted and topped with Swiss cheese and pineapple, and the mahi-mahi tacos, made with chipotle caper tartar sauce, topped with jicama coleslaw and served with a lemon.
"If we were to get rid of our mahi tacos, there would be riots in the streets, so we'll always have those," Auran said.
The menu also features the prime rib sandwich, gyro burger, bacon-wrapped slaw dog, falafel, totchos (nachos made with Tater Tots instead of chips), Reuben fritters and more. Shrimp po'boys and Cajun shrimp tacos are coming soon.
Where's The Rambler parked today?
"We post every day on Facebook and Instagram where we're going to be, so that's a good way to follow us," Auran said. "We've had the past 10 seasons prior to build our customer base, so people know how to find us."
Each week, the familiar green truck parks at locations around Duluth. It can usually be found at St. Luke's Building A from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays; Cirrus Aircraft from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesdays; Bent Paddle from noon-9 p.m. Thursdays; and the Rose Garden from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays.
In late June, The Rambler will add the Civic Center Farmers Market as its Thursday lunch stop before heading to Bent Paddle for the remainder of the evening.
Additionally, The Rambler will appear at the Glensheen Concerts on the Pier held Wednesdays in July and August from 5-8 p.m., and at the Bayfront Pre Party on July 6 at the Earth Rider Fest grounds in Superior.
Several private events, like graduation parties or weddings, are also on the books — some are scheduled years ahead of time, Auran said. The Rambler also provides versatile event catering services, from full-service plated dinners, to buffet-style arrangements, to boxed lunches.
"It's so much fun, don't get me wrong. But it is a lot of hard work," said Auran. "All of us really get along really well and we have such a fun time together. I'm excited to see what our group can come up with next."
What's down the road?
Since Auran joined the team six years ago, The Rambler has incorporated catering to its list of services, and rebranded to better reflect the company name (as well as Reznick's love of bluegrass).
The pandemic presented some trying times because their truck didn't clearly fall into a specific category in regard to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rules and regulations surrounding COVID, Auran recalled.
"Our customers really are the best. I've worked in a lot of service industries where sometimes people aren't so nice, but I've never had an experience on this food truck where I've had to deal with a customer being irritable or upset," Auran said.
She's also enjoyed friendly competition among others in the industry, such as the Oasis Del Norte food truck , which has plans to open a brick-and-mortar location later this summer in Lincoln Park.
"It's really fun to see what folks are coming up with and who's willing to stick it out and stick around with us," Auran said.
Within the next year, The Rambler plans to develop a small year-round event center and office next to their small commercial kitchen, located at 313 N. Central Ave., next to the West Theatre and across from Zenith Bookstore. It will have the capacity for 50 people.
The future event space is occupied by Talarico Law Office Ltd., which will be relocating to 7636 Bayhill Trail in Duluth on June 1. Michael Talarico owns the building at 313 N. Central Ave. and plans to sell it to Reznick.
"It will be nice to offer employees yearlong work and fill that with events," Auran said.