MOUNDRIDGE —A couple in Moundridge are taking their food business to the streets — literally.
Kirby and Julie Jantzen plan to start serving lunch from their food truck, KJ’s Street Cafe, in February 2018.
When Kirby and Julie Jantzen were looking for a caterer for their daughter's wedding, their search led them to decide it would be cheaper to cook the food themselves. Following in a friend's footsteps, Kirby Jantzen constructed his own drum smoker and experimented with it by cooking pork butts for the wedding guests.
That meal was a success and they started discussing plans to take the next step. They bought a trailer and are putting together a food truck called KJ's Street Cafe.
"I researched what to do and how to do it," Kirby Jantzen said.
Julie Jantzen was looking for a change in careers after having spent nearly 30 years in nursing. She said she wanted to return to her first job as a teenager — working at her mother's supper club in McPherson.
"I started dishwashing and worked my way up to cook," Julie Jantzen said.
She went on to cook for restaurants in McPherson, Moundridge and Buhler.
"I love to cook," Julie Jantzen said. "I kind of feel like I'm going back to what I've always loved to do."
Originally, the couple looked at opening a restaurant in downtown Moundridge, but decided running a food truck would save on overhead costs and labor expenses.
"I finally convinced him that we could probably make a go of it," Julie Jantzen said.
The couple will serve food out of a big white trailer with two serving windows. Julie Jantzen said the space is not much smaller than the kitchen in her home.
"We're going to do several things, but I think a lot of it will be based on smoked meats and incorporating them into other things like quesadillas or chili," Julie Jantzen said. "I love to bake, too, so I'll have baked goods."
The couple sees a need for the factory employees at various businesses around the area to have a place where they can grab a fast lunch.
"Our initial plan is to start off here in town, doing lunches a couple of days a week," Julie Jantzen said.
"We'll have sandwiches and have stuff quick, ready to go. We'll see what the community wants, but I know at lunch it'll have to be quick and easy."
The Jantzens plan to start serving food in February 2018, after completing a few improvements to the trailer.
"I'm really excited about it," Julie Jantzen said. "I really want to get into catering and doing events where I can pick where we go."
For more information about KJ's Street Cafe, visit https://www.facebook.com/kjsstreetcafe.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.