For 15 years, I've spent my days in a cubicle, working a day job in marketing, sitting behind a blinking computer screen as my back curves into a question mark and my hand slowly loses sensation due to advancing carpal tunnel syndrome.
And at night? Things get even weirder when I get home, as I draw the blinds and set up makeshift lighting rigs to take obscenely close-up photos of sandwiches for my food blog, which has a modest monthly readership of around 100,000 food-obsessed oddballs, just like me.
The food I write about on our blog has led to writing and photography gigs for Bon Appetit, Down East Magazine, The Guardian, Serious Eats, Food & Wine, the L.A. Weekly, as well as appearances on NBC's "Today" Show and WCSH6's "207." It's even landed me a book deal. This year, we published "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," by Tilbury House in Thomaston, Maine.
Slowly but surely, I've been making the transition from office drone to food professional. The writing and photography led to competing in cooking competitions nationwide, where I've been fortunate to either win or place in competitions sponsored by NBC, The Boston Lamb Council, Jones Dairy Farm, The Wisconsin Cheese Board.
This year, I'll be competing in Las Vegas in the invite-only "World Food Championships" for $300,000 in prizes in the "Sandwich" category. It's my second year competing; last year, we placed 13th out of 50 of the top sandwich masters in the world.
I know that it's time to execute a mid-career hail mary, and dive into the food world with both feet. It's time to stop endlessly writing and talking about food, and actually start making and serving it. Full-time.
More specifically, I want to bring an obsessive level of detail to sandwich making, and sling the finished product out of the side of a trailer, in a small-but-happening town in Midcoast Maine.
Not just sandwiches. Incredible sandwiches, baked on fresh, crusty bread and filled with braised meats and locally-produced cheeses. Highbrow sandwiches made with garlic-roasted asparagus and quick-pickled onions in the summer. Lowbrow sandwiches packed with homemade lamb chili and cheese in the winter.
A menu that changes with the season, with just a few items designed to appeal to the different desires of tourists and locals alike, served out of the side of a mobile kitchen, at prices so low, everyone can enjoy something new and interesting for lunch, every single day.
A fully-stocked, modern mobile concession trailer never needs oil, breaks down, or blows a fan belt.
We've got two spots secured near Main Street in downtown Rockland, Maine, a town whose full-time population of 8,000 swells to accommodate hundreds of thousands of tourists each summer. We'll stay open year-round to accommodate the needs of not just the influx of summer visitors, but also the people that live and work in town, and make Rockland such an incredible place to live.
We'll take our shot.
Of course, we're lining up lots of cool perks for our Kickstarter backers, whether you live in the area and plan to be one of our regular customers, or if you're an out-of-towner who just shares our overall enthusiasm for sandwiches.
Here's a breakdown of the rewards you'll receive at each backing level...keep scrolling past the chalkboard to see some specifics, which we'll keep updating throughout the campaign.
At the $10 or higher backing level:
Want to show your support for the 'Wich Please truck? Or simply need something to help hold the old bumper together on your 1990 Mercury Sable with the cracked windshield and the paint-primed passenger door? All backers at the $10 pledge level or higher will receive this quality bumper sticker, custom-printed on vinyl so the colors will never fade or peel.
At the $80 backing level:
Pledge $80, and one of the perks you'll receive is this Kickstarter-exlusive, limited edition t-shirt, illustrated in the Ed Roth/Rat Fink hot rod style by Seth Mathiau, artist and owner of Rockland's own Atlantic Studios. Read this update, for more details on how this shirt was born.
Please note that final reward designs may differ slightly from the images shown above.
Risks and challenges
As everybody knows, opening a new food venture is a risky proposition. The cost up front is high, and there's no guarantee of success. We believe that the need for a new, creative lunchtime option in Rockland is there, and we believe in the quality of the food we produce. The remaining risks and challenges lay in the day-to-day running of the business: staffing concerns, ongoing overhead costs, and maintaining inventory.
By choosing to launch our business in a concession trailer, we believe we minimize at least a few of these potential problem areas. We won't have any staff, at least not at first. Our overhead is kept to a minimum, and we won't have costs for rent or equipment, outside of our initial spend to outfit the trailer. Ongoing investment will be minimal, and the success of the business can be measured at the count of each day's receipts.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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