It took a call to “Get Jesse” Jones before Stephanie Brooks’ food truck business got started in August 2016.
She had withdrawn $60,000 from her savings to retrofit the vehicle she named Gnosh with plumbing, flooring and appliances, and to fix a leaky roof, but it was not delivered as promised. Soon after television consumer advocate Jones got involved, Brooks was in business.
But then Gnosh broke down the second day of operation in Gig Harbor. The head gasket on the engine was blown. Brooks made a few frantic phone calls to a tow company, an auto repair shop and a wedding planner before she decided that the truck would be towed to her scheduled catering job. Towed afterward to Glen Cove Repair, where the mechanical issues were resolved, Gnosh was soon back on the road. “I am grateful to the Morelands, who saw my trauma and helped,” Brooks said.
The simple menu is “Sam’iches and Wraps,” “Nibbles” and “Quenchers,” and it varies from week to week. The schedule is Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or later) in Key Center, where Gnosh parks in front of Capitol Lumber on the Key Peninsula Highway.
“I’ve tried to keep the price point accessible to everyone, in the $7 to $9.50 range,” Brooks said.
Brooks, 44, grew up in Home, where she has recently returned to live with her mother. “It’s nice to have a small-town connection,” she said. She and her partner, Chad Edwards, agree. “It’s not just food, it’s conversations with the community. It’s something different. ‘Gnosh’ means to eat noisily,” Brooks said.
Edwards said he put about 600 hours of work into the truck after they got it back from the builder. Licensing for road driving is the same as any recreational vehicle, “but the health department guidelines for food truck services are ‘gray’ as they are being built. It is a learning curve for everyone,” Brooks said.
“I don’t have a food background,” she said. “I spent 15 years in the corporate world. After my father passed away, I took a year off and got my soul back.” She said she found a way to do what her heart wants to do. “I love being my own boss and living my vision. I have a zest to learn and I like to have a good time at work. It comes down to the love of it. Food tastes better with love,” she said.
Gnosh can cater weddings, birthday parties, fundraisers and other events on-site. “We’ve had good feedback that we serve a good product at a good price,” Brooks said. “I’m open to constructive criticism. It’s my goal to move to five days a week out here on the Key.”