I've had the very good fortune to spend time in South Florida over the years. I've called Aventura, Miami, Wellington, Hollywood my temporary stomping grounds. And, while I'm not exactly a native, I did get around quite a bit.
In fact, in cruising around the area, I started discovering and savoring food trucks long before www.foodtrucksin.com was even a twinkle in my eye. I clearly even remember when Hollywood built and dedicated its Arts Park in 2007. Then I recall as many as 20 food trucks started showing up every Monday night at the park. Some great meals on wheels, promoted by Burger Beast and MiamiFoodTrucks.com
So, it was that on a recent, very cold New England night in Providence, that those warm South Florida temperatures and great food truck food experiences became focused in my memory and inspired me to get hold of Tony at HipPOPs handcrafted gelato bars, something he's been making and selling since 2012. I wanted to hear his story, and I wanted motivation to hit the warmth, and the great food truck food, of South Florida.
Eric: What did you do before you owned a food truck?
Tony: I developed, owned, and managed frozen dessert concepts in large regional shopping malls.
Eric: What led you to the idea of starting a food truck?
Tony: I attended a food truck round up with my family and loved the feel and the experience. I loved the ability to be mobile.
Eric: What’s your truck’s name? Is there a story behind the name?
Tony: HipPOPs handcrafted gelato bars. After many months of playing with different names, my mother and I took my 3 kids to their weekly Hip Hop class and there we started to throw more names around and she just blurted out hey what about "HipPOPs" it was there that the company was born.
Eric: How would you describe your food?
Tony: "handcrafted awesomeness" handcrafted gelato on a stick that can be customized with unique dips and toppings.
Eric: What would you say is the most popular item?
Tony: "The Godfather" our pistachio gelato dipped in our signature semi sweet Belgian chocolate dip and encrusted with roasted, sea salt dusted pistachio pieces…….A BAR YOU CANNOT REFUSE…LOL.
Eric: Do you have a menu item that is truly unique to your food truck?
Tony: A frozen Hot Chocolate!
Eric: What makes your food truck stand out?
Tony: The quality of our product and the quality of our service. You will always experience a member of our family, whether on the truck or at a catering event. In addition our HipPOPs are truly unique. You will not come across handcrafted gelato bars like ours, anyplace else.
Eric: Do you have a particularly memorable experience someone had at your truck?
Tony: Six months after we started our business we were invited to the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, where Andrew Zimmern hosted an end of the festival food truck party. He tweeted about our product. It was amazing to us that he did this unsolicited, he has like 485,000 twitter followers, and he is a BUSY man. Just recently "The Daily Meal" named HipPOPs handcrafted gelato bars #8 dessert truck in the county. It meant a lot to us to be recognized by him and many of the great food bloggers in South Florida. We feel very blessed!
Eric: What is one thing that customers do not know about running a food truck that you would like to share?
Tony: BEWARE! Anything can happen. I have lost both my rear tires and rims on a Sat. night at 11pm while on I-95 heading home from an event in Miami. One must be flexible and adapt well to ever changing environments and situations.
Eric: Have you eaten at food trucks in other cities?
Tony: Yes I was just recently in Montreal visiting family and went to the end of the season round up and it was a lot of fun. The city has just recently allowed carts and trucks to operate.
Eric: What city's food truck scene would you most like to visit and why?
Eric: Is there a food truck that you would most like to visit someday?
Eric: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Tony: We recently engaged the services of a successful franchise company who is well versed in the frozen dessert space to assist us in expanding HipPOPs handcrafted gelato bars. We feel lucky to have created a wonderful business for our family and want to share this opportunity with other great families throughout this great Country. We hope to help them create a wonderful business for their families.
You can learn more about HipPOPs handcrafted gelato bars and where to find them throughout South Florida at http://www.foodtrucksin.com/hippops-handcrafted-gelato-bars.