Young and Hungry

Will Mike Isabella Ever Launch a Real Food Truck?

By now, you've likely heard that chef Mike Isabella will be hitting the streets of D.C. tomorrow in a Graffiato "pop-up" food truck.

"Pop-up" is fair. But "food truck?"

While Isabella will be moving around town in a wheeled vehicle, it's really more of a promotional effort in partnership with reservation system CityEats than a real food truck. For starters, it will only be in operation for one day. And Isabella won't be cooking on board, but rather handing out free premade samples and giving away prizes to fans who can identify the ingredients in his dishes.

"I always wanted to have a food truck. But it's a lot of work, and there's a lot of things you have to do to keep it going, and I don't have that time right now," Isabella says. "It's a big trend... I just kind of wanted to join the party and have some fun."

He says a real food truck is a real possibility, someday—just not anytime soon. After all, the chef opened Bandolero two months ago, and he now has two more restaurants, Kapnos and G, planned for 14th Street NW in early 2013.

Isabella says he has yet to do any homework on how much it might cost and the amount of time it might take to do a full-time food truck, "but it is something I've always wanted to do and have for the company."

In the meantime, here's where to catch the "food truck" tomorrow:

8 a.m.:            Dupont Circle – Q Street between 20th and Connecticut NW

11 a.m.:          Union Station – Corner of Massachusetts Ave and F Street NW

1 p.m.:            Franklin Park  – Corner of 14th and K Streets NW

4:45 pm:        Farragut North – K Street between 17th and Connecticut NW

6:30 p.m.:     National Mall – Corner of 10th Street and Constitution Ave NW

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Don

    Can everyone in DC stop blowing this guy. He is a fucking hack and the must untalented chef in the city.

    Getting by on the "Top Chef" bull shit is old.

  • Jane

    Get in line, Don. I want to punch him in the face. He makes Spike Mendelssohn look subtle and genteel.

  • Milton Noones

    Will it be a small plates "concept" food truck, meaning you have to spend $30 for lunch?

  • Andrew

    He was friendly ro us when we ate at Bandolero (then temporarily in Cleveland Park) and came over to talk to us. Of course, I am also from New Jersey, and my girlfriend's co-worker grew up with him in Little Ferry, New Jersey, so that probably helped.

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  • Ep Sato

    I've met Mike Isabella a few times and think he's a good guy in person. I also thought he was a great chef at Zatinyas and was happy to root for him (and all the DC chefs) on tv.

    Alas, his restaurants are a mixed bag. Every friend of mine who's eaten at Graffiatos has said bad things about the place.

    After the hype, I checked out Bandoleros, which was disappointing. No AC when I went (100 degrees outside that day), and the service was AWFUL. Our waiter completely forgot half of our order, never came around to check on us, couldn't bring us the bill when requested, and didn't keep eyes on our drinks. The prices were sky high for Texmex fare. We enjoyed the tacos, but they're tiny. I had to order 3 plates of them to get my fill. Taqueria DF on 14th and T makes similar fare for better prices.

    BTW, the "El Bandolero" Margarita was so bad that we sent it back. Don't order this! Seriously, how do you screw up a margarita, especially if its a namesake specialty cocktail?

    BTW, Paper menus seem a bit tacky for a place where the bill for two people will easily run $100.

    Unlike most Mexican spots you don't get a bowl full of chips to pass the time with. The "Heavy Metal" decorations were totally out of place too.

    I'd eat there again, but only if someone else pays the bill.

    If Isabella wants to do high end "concepts," I think his style's better suited for the NYC crowd. It's just a little too pricey and the plates a little too small for the DC crowd.

  • j brooks

    I currently own a food truck looking for a partnership please calk me if interested 240 994 8610

  • Dan Riley

    He's not a bad guy. He is just trying to get his while his name is still relevant. I'm always surprised by the level of hate for people who get lucky. He's become a local version of Lana Del Ray or Lena Dunham.

    Relax angry guy - hating is bad for your insides.