Francesca Lacuesta, a 28-year-old, full-time student, dedicated yogi, and vegan, has a dream: to get Miami's first all-vegetarian food truck on the road. She's almost there. She hopes to get her Mac'n Food Truck rolling by March, but with limited time and financial resources, it's been an uphill battle.
Mostly, the issue is the truck itself, which Lacuesta and her partner, Mark Jennings, scored through a bargain-basement deal off Craigslist, from a former business owner who had to quickly leave the country. "She gave us the most incredible deal. We got really lucky," Lacuesta recalls.
"But she hadn't been in business for about six months, so the truck was sitting in an open lot on 79th and Biscayne, open to all the elements. There was a roof leak; three of the tires were flat, so we had to fix the roof. We had to replace all the tires," she continues. "And before we had that done, we were storing it at a friend's house in Homestead. Then we were driving it to the mechanic's to get all the stuff fixed, it just stopped working in the middle of the road in the middle of the country."
A couple months later, the truck is now almost in working order and is being painted, but a few repairs are still needed to get it going. So Lacuesta's launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, with the hopes of raising $10,000 to get Mac'n going.
So why should you donate money to a private business? Well, first, there are the environmentally friendly reasons. While many trucks use styrofoam packaging liberally, causing bins full of waste at every truck gathering, Mac'n plans to serve up its food in biodegradable containers. That food will, in another carbon footprint-shrinking move, be sourced from local ingredients.
Then, of course, there are the truck's health benefits, and the fact that it now invites previously largely excluded swaths of people to participate in the mobile food scene. Not only will it cater to vegetarians, but a good chunk of the offerings will be vegan as well. Mac'n is also particularly friendly to people with food allergies. All of the namesake Mac 'n cheese mains can be made gluten-free as well, nearly all of the sides are gluten- and tree nut-free, and, obviously, all vegan items are dairy- and egg-free as well.
Finally, donating to the Kickstarter benefits you in the most selfish way: Your pledge will be doubled back in food credits. Donate $10, get $20 of food, and so on. Donations of $100 and up also get a limited edition organic cotton tote bag.
Click here to visit Mac'n Soul Food Truck's Kickstarter page, and look out for Lacuesta and her team this weekend, when they'll be flyering at local events like the Miami Boat Show, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, the Launcharte market, and the Bird Road FAD Walk.
You can also follow Mac'n on Twitter at @MacnFoodTruck and check out the Mac'n Facebook page here.
In the meantime, check out the menu below. We'll be posting the full Q&A with Lacuesta about the birth of the truck in the coming days.
4 Cheese: Cheddar, Muenster, Gruyere and Pecorino
Bacon Mac: Faux bacon, cheddar (can be made vegan)
Veggie: Lite cheddar, parmesan, cauliflower, Portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, broccoli and scallions (can be made vegan)
Vegan mac: daiya
Fried "chicken" with dipping sauces (honey mustard and chipotle bbq) (v)
Sweet potato fries (gf, v)
Fried okra (gf, v)
Fried green tomatoes with remoulade (gf, v)
Collard Greens (gf, v)
Cucumber & corn salad (gf, v)
Coleslaw (gf, v)
Coconut-Pecan Pralines (gf, v)
Pecan Pie Bars (v)
Watermelon with Basil Sea salt (gf, v)
Mint Julep Lemonade
Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.