- Associated Press - Saturday, September 12, 2020

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - There’s a new entrant into the Bowling Green food truck environment, and this one already has a following.

Josh and Chelsey Poling, owners of Hickory & Oak restaurant in downtown Bowling Green and owners for eight years of the former Home Cafe eatery on Nashville Road, are now taking their culinary show on the road.

Starting this week, the Polings and partner Anne Garrett are jumping into the area’s growing food truck market with a meals-on-wheels business they’re calling Crave by Home Cafe.



“When we sold Home Cafe (this year to Lost River Pizza owner Keith Coffman), people said we should do a food truck,” Josh Poling said. “That wasn’t in our plans, but when the coronavirus hit in March the world changed.

“I don’t see realistically how you go to a bank now and ask for a loan to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. But you can do a food truck for a small percentage of the overhead needed for a building.”

The food truck is also a way of responding to the urging of Home Cafe fans.

“So many people were telling us that they craved our pizza and burgers,” Josh Poling said.

Thus the name.

Although Josh Poling said the food truck will partially fill the vacuum left by the closing of Home Cafe, he said Crave will be more than Home Cafe on wheels.

“I would describe it as Home Cafe classic mixed with a new wave of menu items,” he said. “We’re no longer committed to how each item fits in the meals we serve.

“On the truck, you’ll see a lot of stuff we’ve wanted to do for a while. We can serve $5 items or $20 items.”

Garrett, who worked at Home Cafe for eight years before it closed, said she may have missed the restaurant more than its loyal patrons.

“After eight years there, it was devastating for me because it was such a part of who I was,” Garrett said. “I love to cook for people, and I love making people happy through food.”

Because of the disruption in the restaurant business brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Garrett believes now is an opportune time to launch a food truck.

“Food trucks are now going to be very big,” she said. “The restaurant world is shifting toward quick pickup.”

After working at Home Cafe for nearly a decade, Garrett knows that operating a food truck will be an adjustment. But it’s one she welcomes.

“It’s a very different animal,” she said. “But it’s geared toward my personality. I used to do catering at Home Cafe, and that was a lot of fun. This will be a learning curve, but I think it’ll be a fun learning curve.”

Josh Poling launched the Crave truck Monday at Rian’s Fatted Calf on Broadway Avenue, joining a handful of other food trucks. He’s scheduled to be back at Rian’s Wednesday and at the U.S. 31-W By-Pass Kroger on Friday.

“We’re looking for places to set up,” he said. “I would love to be back on Nashville Road.”

Josh Poling said the truck that came from Arlington, Va., and was “designed specifically for us” and doesn’t have many limitations, despite its size relative to a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

“There’s more equipment in the truck than we had at Home Cafe,” he said. “I have confidence in us finding a way for it to work.”

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