Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 20, 2013.

Update #14

We Made It!

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Dear Friends,
We've finally done it! Pierogi Wagon is officially the 24th licensed "cook on board" food truck in the City of Chicago!

Through an entire year (nearly to the date) of countless obstacles, daily problems to solve, hours and hours spent underneath the truck on busy Ashland avenue, stringent & confusing city regulations, major budget issues, and the coldest winter in the history of the city, we finally received our license yesterday!  

We've been elated and humbled by this great adventure.

We've learned that everything takes 10x as long as you'd expect and twice as much money as you'd think you would need.

We've become plumbers, electricians, carpenters, welders, mechanics, gas spring engineers, graphic designers, automotive painters, truck design wrappers, epoxy experts, and chefs.

We've spent so many nights burning the midnight oil, evenings and weekends, holidays or not--- but it's been SO worth it.

And we'd be nowhere if not for you.

So, again we say- Thank You. So much!

---Now- let's get to the good stuff :)---

We will be on the streets for lunch service Monday through Friday and will be available for events, catering and private parties starting now. Let us know if you know if there's anywhere you'd like to see us!

In the weeks that follow, we will be at Hyde Park every Tuesday and Thursday as well as Clark & Monroe on Fridays, Other days are TBD, please check the Pierogi Wagon Twitter or Facebook for upcoming schedules.

Unfortunately, we haven't quite mastered the art of web development- so the website is coming shortly. 


---Now- for the rewards!---
We've just sent the survey for T-Shirt sizes and Designs :) If you're a backer who got a t-shirt, please fill it out as soon as you have the chance so we can get the t-shirts printed.

The cookbook is still a work in progress- but we're working on it and expect to have it ready for you soonish. We will send it out to those who have digital cookbook and physical cookbook with the apron the moment it's ready!

As to the Pierogi Rewards- we have a backer list on board the truck. Just bring your smiling face and introduce yourself (with ID, for verification purposes) to grab the most amazing lunch you'll ever have!

For the backers with Catering rewards- please contact us at damian@eatpierogiwagon.com to work out scheduling.

We assure you- your rewards do not expire. You can pick up pierogi rewards whenever our paths cross.

As you can imagine, Izzy has grown in the past year. She's still small enough to fit in a pot, though!

 
We hope to see you at the truck soon! We'll be in touch.

 Thank You!

Damian, Jessica & Izzy


Update #13

Second to last update

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Hello, We are almost there. I know we said it already but we continue to work hard on getting the Pierogi wagon official. Like with everything in live we make two steps forward and one step backward. I know that the continuous delays are getting old and by now you are probably frustrated that this takes so long. Back when we started I truly believed that we can get the truck up and running by may or june at the best. The experience has thought me differently and I learned that starting a food truck business is a lot more difficult that I thought. And I know that it may be hard to believe from your perspective, but I am asking you for little more faith in me. I would say that I hugely underestimated the amount of cost it will take from start to finish. We have exhausted the kickstarter funds at the end of summer and been putting our own money into it ever since. It does take a long time indeed because every single expense now takes longer to fund (as we need to work elsewhere to bring money in), and there has been a never ending list of things to do. But, one by one we have tackled them all and the truck is now ready. Since the last update we have successfully installed commercial generator that will hopefully serve for quite some time. It has been quite a challenge to work outside with these sub-artic temperatures, I must admit. We have also installed the inverter system along with battery bank and charging equipment to keep hot food hot and cold food cold during transportation, as it is illegal to drive with the generator on. We have also installed commercial fire extinguisher, fire and carbon dioxide alarm, sealed all the gaps and implemented pest control preventive systems. We have also completed 40 page detailed documentation on the truck and all of the components to help ease the rest of the city bureaucracy. That includes detailed blue prints and manufactures spec sheets for all equipments and fixtures. We have completed a food truck licensing application with all required permits and documents as well as gone through city inspection with just few minor corrections that the city requires, most of which we’ve already taken care of. One of which is getting a commercial vehicle safety sticker for the truck itself. Knowing how old the truck is, I am a little is scared of the results- but hope for the best. There is nothing else to be done on the truck prior the final inspection. We have also got our menu redesigned and ready for the service. Website is just steps away from being completed. The commercial Kitchen itself is still an issue but I am doing everything I can to get that aspect behind me. My sources are telling me that we will have a kitchen that is just about to be ready for my use and this is great news. Having said that, I strongly believe that we will get licensed this month. City is still going through the documentation and as soon as the kitchen is official we can pass the last inspection and work the truck full time!!! This weekend, we are sending a kickstarter survey asking for your addresses. For those of you how are expecting shipped items please provide you address and we will ship your package as soon as we get licensed but we want to get the labels and everything started ready now so we don’t delay it any further. Those of you getting Pierogi off the truck, we now have the master list with your rewards on the truck ready to redeem it. You can come find us anytime: simply approach the truck and present your ID for verification purposes. We will also start redeeming catering orders from the very first day we are licensed and official. I am looking forward to meeting you all, and I hope that the long journey of truck licensing is over. I will email you all the same day I get licensed!! Thank you again for being patient and understanding. Respectfully, Damian

Update #12

Moving forward!

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Dear Friends,

Here is yet another update of the status of the Pierogi Wagon so far. Up until now there was not really any good, confirmed news that I could report back to you since the last time I wrote. It’s been very frustrating to have the food truck built but yet not on the streets. There is not a minute in the day when I don’t think about it. I wanted you to know that I am in this business with all my heart and hope to get it all up and running very soon. Since the last time I sent the update I mentioned all the problems that are preventing us from going forward. The two stalling components were the generator and the shared kitchen. I do have good news on both fronts. The old generator did not start working with the new electric control board and after troubleshooting we discovered that the voltage controller also needed to be replaced. To have the generator taken care professionally, get the new component installed properly and everything else fine tuned; we outsourced this task to the local company that specializes in generators. With everything replaced, the generator ran great for about 15 minutes and then suddenly started smoking from inside, ruining the generator and making it unsalvageable. Personally, this is one of those moments where you want to give up knowing how much money time and hope is invested in. We then decided that purchasing brand new commercial generator, even though extremely expensive, would be the most beneficial decision. We are expecting this 3k generator to be delivered this Tuesday. We also have received good news regarding our shared kitchen: It will be fully operational and ready for our use in January. All in all, it is finally coming together and things are starting looking brighter. As soon as we get licensed, there are a lot of changes coming. Although it will be a massive change, I will be quitting my day job and committing all my time to running the food truck. We will also host the long awaited launch party and fulfill all other rewards as soon as possible. Thanks again for all your support! If you have any questions, comments or simply want to talk, you can always call me at 312.291.1902 Regards



Update #11

Long awaited update.

12 comments
11 likes
Dear friends, It has been quite some time since we last updated you and other Kickstarter supporters. I would like to start off by sending you my deep apologies for not communicating the status of the project. Perhaps the reason why I am not keeping in touch is because I don't have any great news quite yet and frankly, I think it was just easier for me to stay quiet. Having said that I understand that this is not an excuse, nor is it acceptable. I haven not forgotten about you and 300 hundred other kickstarter supporters that made it possible, but I did mess up and therefore I apologize and promise to keep you in a closer loop going forward. As to the status of the Pierogi wagon- it's complicated but you have to trust me that there is no one that wants it officially launched more than me. The good news is that the truck has been pretty much finished toward the end of august and since then we have been able to work a few events throughout the city on temporary event permits. We have sold out about every single time and the feedback has been absolutely great. Now, given that the truck is operational you may be asking why are we not on the streets yet? Even thought we have been very strict about the budget throughout the entire process there were a lot of unexpected expenses that we have not known about prior and after all we have run out of money toward the end of august. At the same time the never ending pile of problems kept arising. Starting with having to fix the broken window that someone has smashed and change the fuel pump that broke in the middle of the highway. Then we learned that the fridge that we initially purchased, even thought is “ul” listed will not be approved by the city because it is not a “commercial” fridge. Given that new commercial fridges start at $2000+ we were lucky to find a used coke fridge that needed repairs, but meets all the requirements for under a $1000. Now, the generator that we have been using burned down on us because of overloading it. Because it wasn’t strong enough to supply power to all electric devices (not enough to plug in the water heater) we wouldn’t have been able to be approved anyway. We have been on the lookout for a suitable solution and after all found an onan generator that produces 6500w. Unfortunately, you only get what you pay for and because we spent under $1000 the controlling board needs to be replaced. New commercial models cost around $5k, and a lot of the residential generators that we considered are very unreliable. Having said that, board is on the way and as soon as this comes I am looking forward to a reliable electricity source. Now, the biggest problem of all. The kitchen space. In order to get approved by the city a shared commercial space and commissary are required. This has been the nightmare since the very beginning. A well known shared kitchen, Kitchen Chicago is full and does not accept new members and the Garage by Dan Sallas (salsa truck) is not yet approved as shared kitchen. So far we have been fortunate to use a commercial kitchen by a fellow food truck owner but this has been very limited. Going forward we have secured three different location that we can use, each with different set of problems, from space, price to distance. We have also both worked additional jobs to be able to afford all related expenses and this surely slowed down the project. We have since put in several thousand dollars to bring Pierogi wagon to required standards. And here is the good news. As soon the generator control board arrives and the electricity flows we are running with it. We will make a final decision regarding the shared kitchen, finish up the city licensing, and officially launch. In the meantime,e expect us to see us around the city few times a week. We have put together a list of all kickstarter supporters that we will have on board along with rewards. We will be honoring those rewards as soon as we get on the streets. Having said that we don’t have enough money to send the t-shirts out yet at this very time. We will be sending another update, the day when the generator is fixed. Once again, we wholeheartedly appreciate your support and will update again very soon, hopefully by the end of next week. Regards,

Update #10

Update #10: We are almost there!!

4 comments

Hello to all you amazing people!

We've made progress by leaps and bounds since the last time we spoke and we're excited to say that we're nearly there!

What have we done? Tons. Electrical, epoxy flooring, painted the truck, redesigned our branding, plumbing, wrapped the truck (!), and finished buying our equipment. All of those were done with our own labor and each discipline has included a steep learning curve. But, as we all know, small business owners have to wear many hats. And we've been doing our best.

What's left to do? The in-line generator needs to be done by a licensed mechanic. That's this week's task. After that, it's just a matter of tidying up loose ends, making the truck nice and shiny and going to the city for approval (wish us luck!) We're also planning on applying for a Dupage county license, so suburbanites: look out for us!

We're currently looking for a covered and/or fenced parking space in wrigleyville, ravenswood, or northcenter. If you know anyone who has a parking spot for rent in those areas, let us know!

Our budget is extremely tight, so we want to be sure that we are able to get the truck finished before we print t-shirts and other rewards. But we are constantly thinking about you guys and will absolutely fulfill your rewards as soon as physically possible. Your patience has been astounding. Thank you.
We've included tons of pictures and videos of the progress so far: painting the truck (that was quite the adventure), wrapping it with Mark Your Space, Inc, cutting out the table for our 4 compartment sink. Enjoying a cold one from Revolution after a long day's work. The hot box and equipment boxes that have been taking up half our living room. Treasure hunting at the metal scrap yard. Izzy's fascination with our newly yellow truck and her patiently playing while we tag-teamed working in the truck.

Your support means the world to us and we can't wait to burn some rubber on the streets! 

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