Local couple launches food truck dream
By BRITTANY FHOLER
For Stephen and Shonda Foote, owning and operating a food truck is the culmination of a lifelong dream.
The owners of Copperas Cove’s newest food truck, Dizzy’s, made their debut at the second Food Truck Pop-Up, hosted by Bob Jericho of The Reef Food Truck with Mama Lama Mobile Kitchen and Sticky Fingas BBQ and Catering, last Saturday.
While The Reef served smoothies and grilled cheese sandwiches, Mama Lama served kebabs and gyros and Sticky Fingas served turkey legs and barbeque, Dizzy’s brought the tacos and their twist on a cheesesteak with their Texas Cheesesteak, made using brisket, topped with grilled onions, peppers and melted cheese.
Both Stephen and Shonda have experience in the food and beverage industry - Stephen’s experience is from the back of the house, cooking, while Shonda has front of house experience, serving customers.
Stephen also trained at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. He learned how to cook at a young age and with his stepfather’s help, learned how to cook wild game.
“I grew up in a little town and if you couldn’t cook, then you got to eat at the same four restaurants, so learning how to cook, I learned how to cook pretty good,” Stephen said.
Growing up, Shonda watched her family members work in the food and beverage industry and knew she wanted to own her own restaurant one day. Stephen shared this dream of owning a restaurant or food truck.
“I worked in an oil field and doing construction, and I’m tired of killing myself trying to make money and working for other people,” Stephen said. “I love cooking and just cooking good food and serving good food, and I just wanted to do it for a long time.”
Working together with Shonda and doing their own thing is the American dream, he added.
“It was just a dream that both of us had, and then whenever we met and got together, we started talking about it and it seemed like a really good business investment,” Shonda added.
Being in the food truck has provided the Footes the opportunity to be their own bosses and make connections with customers.
“It’s fun being able to interact with people on a more personable level and be next to him when he’s cooking and just have our own gig to bring really, really good and creative food to people and let them have a good time and some good food, not necessarily in such a stuffy restaurant environment, but a more festive environment,” Shonda said.
The name of the food truck came from a fun nickname Stephen gave Shonda. In a silly mood, Stephen called her “Shondizzle” as a nickname. When it was time to come up with a name for their food truck, Foote said he wanted a short, easy name so he thought back to that nickname and came up with “Dizzy’s” as the truck’s name.
“It sounds fun and a little inviting,” Shonda said.
The couple picked up the food truck from Georgia last November and since then have been working to get it ready for business. With the COVID-19 closing everything down, the Footes ran into roadblocks in getting all of the necessary permits and with Shonda getting her Food Manager Certification test proctored.
“It’s kind of a scary leap of faith to make the investment and be like, ‘Hey, we’re going to do it,’” Shonda said. “There’s so many opportunities to back out.”
In addition to the tacos and Texas Cheesesteak, Dizzy’s also offers honey teriyaki or buffalo style wings and a pork sandwich with a cabbage slaw.
When choosing items for their menu, the Footes toss around ideas the way they do when deciding what to eat for dinner at home.
Stephen said they chose wings because those are a staple, and they chose brisket because this is Texas.
“I didn’t want to get stuck in a barbeque truck,” Stephen said. “I didn’t just want to do and compete with everybody else doing barbeque, so I wanted to do something else.”
Stephen custom built a good portion of the inside of the truck which allows them to make a variety of things.
“It’s really versatile, so we can change our menu to fit the season and fit the crowd, so that’s going to give us a lot of wiggle room and in our menu,” Shonda said.
The Footes heard about the first Food Truck Pop Up and connected with Bob Jericho who took them under his wing and invited them to join the second Food Truck Pop Up, with the Reef, Mama Lama Kitchen and Sticky Fingas BBQ.
“All those people that have those food trucks have been so helpful and welcoming and lots of good ideas, so I honestly think without that group of people, it would have been very hard to get started, but they made our very first day a huge success,” Shonda said.
Shonda added that being that it was their first ever event, it was a bit chaotic but Stephen “rocked it like a mad man.”
“I’m so glad because he was really the anchor of the whole system,” Shonda said.
Shonda said they are looking for a location to set up their truck to offer breakfast options in the morning through the lunch hours. They also plan to offer larger drink sizes and more shaded areas for customers to wait for their food.
“We’re really excited for the opportunity, and it really is a dream come true, something that even before we met, we both had that dream, so it’s pretty neat to meet somebody with the same dream and then work well together,” Shonda said.
New menu items include the refreshing Coctel del Mar, the Footes’ version of a shrimp cocktail served in a light tomato sauce with lime, cucumber, avocado, cilantro and thinly sliced red onions, with tortilla chips on the side. This will be available this Saturday, when Dizzy’s Food Truck sets up at Stoneledge Winery and Vineyard in Lometa on Saturday, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dizzy’s will also be back at the next food truck pop up in Copperas Cove on Saturday, August 15 at 201 S. 2nd Street.