Bark: the most flavorful layer on the outer surface of slowly smoked meats that is formed from the sugars in the rub caramelizing and interacting with the meat and smoke.
The Bite: the teeth impressions visible after taking a bite of a perfectly tender slow smoked rib.
Bark and the Bite: Artisan Barbecue Truck serving Minneapolis with world class smoked meats, craft sauces, scratch sides, great vegetarian and gluten free options.
Chef Noah Miller and Toph Heubach first met in junior high in Hopkins, Minnesota and have been friends ever since. As they grew so did their love of food, and both ended up pursuing restaurant careers. Noah trained at the prestigious New England Culinary Institute and worked at some of the top restaurants in Minneapolis, including Lucia’s, D'Amico Cucina and The Sample Room. Toph pursued the burgeoning world of craft bartending, eventually landing at foodie favorite Sapor Cafe and Bar as Lead Bartender and Bar Manager. Food has always played an important role in their friendship - they met for lunch almost once a week for nearly a decade. Over the years they have shared countless meals in almost every cuisine imaginable, but found themselves coming back again and again to one in particular: barbecue. Not just any barbecue would do, though - Toph and Noah wanted authentic high quality barbecue made nice and slow, the way Noah remembered from his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee. Sadly, they found the barbecue scene in the Upper Midwest lacking. Several options purporting to be barbecue were often flat, lacking in smoke, proper bark or bold flavors. Slathered on sticky sweet sauces dominated. Places that did have great smoked meats still seemed to cut corners when it came to their sides. Underseasoned, overcooked and uninspired, these attempts usually left them disappointed. So Noah and Toph took it into their own hands, smoking meats at home or grabbing meats from their favorite takeout joints and pairing it with their own homemade sauces and sides. As they stood by smokers in each others’ back yards, drinking beer and contemplating the future, Toph and Noah started sketching out their dream: a from-scratch craft barbecue joint with sides, drinks and sauces just as good and carefully considered as their exquisitely smoked meats. A place that could pair Noah’s expertise as an executive chef with Toph’s front-of-house and management experience. Barbecue that would combine fine dining taste with unpretentious service.
Serendipity at Sapor
Smoked Meats and Southern Eats
Our meats are carefully sourced and carefully prepared with our own infused oil and rub. We slowly smoke over low temperature with local, sustainably sourced fruit woods for a mild but complex smoke flavor. Do to the size and nature of a food truck, not all items will be available everyday, but our options will regularly include-
- Smoked Pulled Pork
- Smoked Pulled Chicken
- Smoked Sliced Lean Brisket
- Burnt Ends
- Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs
- Pulled BBQ Jackfruit (vegetarian and delicious)
Our sides are Southern classics made with fresh seasonal ingredients and as much loving care as we put into our meats. Our Apple-Mustard Slaw eschews mayo for a crisp vinegar-based rendition which perfectly balances the richness of quality barbecue. Our Homemade Potato Salad is made fresh daily with handmade garlic aioli and peppery arugula. Those looking for something richer will appreciate our twist on a classic, Maple Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potato with Candied Pecans. And with plentiful delicious local ingredients, expect a tantalizing rotation of unique seasonal side specials from Chef Noah to round out your barbecue meal.
Our meats are so tender, so moist, so full of flavor from the rub and long, slow smoking that you might decide to forgo the sauce altogether. But never fear, sauce lovers - we’ve got you covered.Our from-scratch sauces reflect a variety of regional favorites with a few special twists, including Bourbon-Cherry BBQ (big flavor without the heat), Pepper-Vodka (for an extra kick) and seasonal variants like Smoky Vidalia and Mustard & Sass.
When can I try these eats?
We apply the same philosophy to our business that we do to our meats - it’s more important to do it right than do it quickly. Initially, we hoped to be up and running by July, but (as is so often the case with a new business) we have encountered a few minor and common setbacks. We’re currently working on our truck to make sure everything is up to code, properly licenced and ready to provide the best customer experience possible. Expect Bark and the Bite to be serving delicious artisan barbecue on the streets of Minneapolis by September 2015.
Where were you be located?
We firmly believe that fine barbecue deserves to be paired with fine beverages. Unfortunately, current laws prohibit the sale of alcohol from food trucks, so we won’t be able to take advantage of Toph’s top-notch cocktail creations (that’ll have to wait for a brick and mortar project…) That's why we are partnering with some of the best tap and cocktail rooms in the Twin Cities. We know from experience that our food goes amazing with craft brews and spirits (our testing has been extensive), and we love the jovial atmosphere that these breweries and distilleries foster. Stay tuned for updates on specific locations or follow us on Twitter @BarkandtheBite, but here is one little hint…
Why a Kickstarter campaign?
While over 90% of our funding is in place,we need a little bit of a push to finish the truck with our specific equipment needs and get it in line with Minneapolis code. Barbecue has always been a communal meal shared among friends, so we’re asking our community to help us get Bark and the Bite up and running. In return for your help we have a variety of rewards including our delicious food, stylish shirts, hats and aprons - and, if you’re feeling really generous, your very own private barbecue party. Thank you so much for your support - we can’t wait to see you at the truck!
Risks and challenges
We’ve both been in the restaurant business since we were teenagers, so we are intimately familiar with the risks inherent in this industry. Challenges to the success of our project include truck performance issues, weather conditions, location limitations, customer preference, and customer awareness.
Without the truck we can’t serve food, so keeping the truck up and running remains paramount to our operation. Our truck will undergo regular preventative maintenance to maintain consistent performance - no surprises. We hope to invest in a truck that can run on biodiesel in warm weather to reduce emissions and expenses.
Weather effects all food trucks. We love barbecue because it is truly a year-round cuisine - just as good on hot summer days as on a blustery winter night. Working with tap and cocktail rooms ensures year-round customers, and we plan on sending Toph inside to get orders and deliver food right to the table so our customers can stay warm and dry (just another step in top-notch customer service that sets us apart!).
The food truck industry is still relatively new to the Twin Cities, and it is possible that public opinion could sway and lead to more strict zoning, which would impact our ability to operate consistently. This is why we will focus on partnering with businesses, taprooms and cocktail rooms with private parking lots for the majority of operating days to avoid the race for the few street spots in Downtown Minneapolis (and the associated risk of tickets, fines and lost business). We will become members of the MN Food Truck Association and join other food truck operators in advocating for zoning and legal statutes that support mobile food vendors in Minneapolis and the greater Twin Cities area.
Customer preference and awareness-
With so many options for food trucks, how will Bark and the Bite stand out? We know no one else is doing the kind of craft barbecue that we bring to the table - our processes, experience and passion set us apart. Our menu features vegetarian and gluten-free options to make barbecue accessible to as many people as possible. We will use social media extensively to share specials, promote our menu and share our location. Partnering with local breweries and distilleries will allow us to build regulars, create unique and one-of-a-kind pairings and operate year round. We will also be available for catering and special events.
- (30 days)