The text from Biker Jim simply read: "Tired. Taking a nap." The sultan of sausages and high-priest of hot dogs had just returned from a food truck show in Las Vegas, where he pimped frankfurters from the kitchen of the very first Biker Jim's food truck -- which, if Jim has his way, will soon be franchised all across the country.
Jim Pittenger, aka Biker Jim, already has an eponymous brick-and-mortar on Larimer Street, along with gourmet hot dog carts on the 16th street Mall and at the Auraria campus, which left his little empire absent of only one thing: a food truck, which he'd been thinking about building for months. And then, in late August, the phone rang.
"I got a phone call on the same day that I bought out my ex-partner in the restaurant, and it was a guy from Mobi Munch, a company that builds food trucks all over the country," recalls Jim. "The main idea behind Mobi Munch," he explains, is to "put formidable food concepts in trucks, and then roll out those trucks all across the country in stadiums, larger concessionaires and on college campuses." And Biker Jim's -- the concept -- will be a part of that roll-out.
"Our concept is pretty perfect for what they want," says Jim, who's now partnered with Mobi Munch. "They're responsible for rolling out new franchises on wheels, and it's up to us to cull concepts." The goal, notes Jim, is to unleash twelve food trucks -- all with different concepts -- within the next three to four months. "We don't know who all the trucks are yet, but it's a good bet that the Chairman Bao truck will be a part of it," he reveals. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Chairman Bao truck, it's a San Francisco-based, Asian meals on wheels operation that's often credited for launching the food truck movement.
Jim's truck, which is currently sheltered in a warehouse somewhere in Denver, is actually a kitchen-equipped show truck whose burners have been graced by a slew of celebrity chefs, including Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentiis. "They've all cooked on the same truck," says Jim, adding that the truck was, at one time, the Macy's show truck.
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"It's freakin' gorgeous, and probably the coolest wrap I've ever seen on a food truck," says Jim, who will keep his new set of wheels in Denver for the next several months. "We're going to do a few food truck events in Denver before we move on, and we'll definitely haul it out for those." Logistics are still being worked out for future food truck gatherings, but there's talk, notes Jim, about having a food truck party in January at the National Western Stock Show Complex.
In the meantime, Jim is entertaining a heavy travel schedule, which has taken him to Vegas and California more times than he can count. "I'm still recovering from all the travel, but we busted our asses in California and had a great test run, and we proved the concept in Las Vegas, too," he says. "We're a proven concept with national recognition, and if we can get hundreds of Biker Jim food trucks all over the country, that would be awesome."