Lewiston native, Great Foodini food truck operator, interested in village
by Joshua Maloni
A second food truck operator is interested in bringing mobile dining to the Village of Lewiston. Chef Michael Attardo, owner and operator of The Great Foodini, will present his plan to trustees at tonight's Village Board meeting.
In May, Lewiston's Christian Willmott pitched trustees The Black Market Food Truck, a mobile gourmet deli sandwich unit he drives in Buffalo. Board members were lukewarm to the idea, but didn't reject it.
Attardo, who is also a Lewiston native, and a Lewiston-Porter High School graduate, has one significant advantage in that he's already worked in the village, serving customers at the Harvest Festival and the Peach Festival.
In a letter to trustees, Attardo wrote, "Being a resident of the Lewiston area I would like to continue serving the community with the opportunity to experience dining from a food truck. ... Food trucks are on the rise and a new hot trend of the culinary world. Buffalo has embraced this trend and has events for food trucks to conduct business."
"In Niagara County, I'm the first real food truck that's a mobile unit, not a trailer, or one of these food trucks that have prepared sandwiches on them," he said by phone Monday. "Being up in Lewiston, there's a busy nightlife there. ... I want to bring that experience to the Lewiston area."
Attardo is requesting a vendor permit to operate his food truck on Center Street. He doesn't have a set location, but suggested he might look to use the area between the Lewiston Village Pub and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce office. He would serve food year-round starting at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
"With all the other restaurants there, (earlier hours) would create competition, and I'm not looking to take away from other local businesses in the area," he said. "I'm looking to do something late nights, to service a late-night crowd in Lewiston."
Attardo, 38, and his father, Anthony, built The Great Foodini food truck last summer. He has multiple culinary arts degrees and studied at the Culinary Institute of America. Attardo has worked for Guinness, Seneca Niagara Casino, the Red Coach Inn and the Bistro at the Olde Fort Inn.
"Everything we do is from scratch and to-order," he said. His food truck menu includes stone-baked pizza, Cajun po'boys, barbecue pork sandwiches, chicken Caesar wraps, salads, subs, beef-on-weck spring roll, vegetarian dishes and appetizers. The price range is between $8 and $10.
"The portions are large," Attardo said, and added, "It's not cheap food that we're using. Going with my culinary background, I don't like to use cheap items and try to skimp out."
Though he's worked in reputable kitchens, Attardo said, "To be in one kitchen, and one menu, it gets boring." He said a food truck is more exciting because the menu - and the location - can change daily. Attardo said he looks forward to "going to different places and seeing different people each day."
The Village Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Red Brick Municipal Building boardroom, 145 N. Fourth St.