Vendor Gallery: Nadia DeMessa

Nadia DeMessa, the owner of a new gourmet cupcake company making the rounds in a cute trailer, bakes all her cupcakes from scratch using the best of ingredients.

She describes herself as “a wife and mother of three boys” who was born in Jamaica and grew up in a family in the baking business. She originally went to college for marine biology but became a successful custom cake designer. “I have been decorating cakes for the past six years and last year decided to add cupcakes to the menu. I saw how they were becoming very popular and then I noticed the cupcake trucks up north and thought what a good idea.”

DeMessa found a used trailer and “customized it to become a concession unit.” She is fully licensed and has her city of Atlanta vehicle permit. Soon, she will hit the road and set up a few stops to sell the cupcakes from a mobile she affectionately calls Pinkie. Yum Yum Cupcake does not have a store front, but you can find them at most of the local festivals and special events around metro Atlanta.

We caught up with Pinkie at the latest Urban Picnic at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and, although we only tried two flavors (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Red Velvet), we can see that DeMessa’s fluffy and delicate product is in a class of its own, having mastered the trick of making the cake and the icing similarly yielding and delicious.

For street vending, DeMessa has to fully package her cupcakes, but at events, she liberates the little marvels and exposes them in their full glory.

Follow Yum Yum Cupcake on Facebook and Twitter to find out where Pinkie the cupcake mobile will be and try as many of the flavors (a total of twenty-five) as humanly possible!

Advice for All Aspiring Vendors

Interviewed for a street food profile posted on Serious Eats, the owners of Mom’s Delicious Dishes food truck in Raleigh, NC, had the following words of wisdom:

“Find a good compatible partner! You don’t necessarily have the same skills, but you must have the same goals and drive. It’s like a marriage but worse. You spend lots of time together in a very small space and it’s usually hot. . . . Spend some time on a food truck that’s similar in style to what you hope to create. Create a business plan and add 20 percent more for expenses than expected. Prepare to devote your entire life to a new business for at least one year until you can figure out your trends and establish some benchmarks.”

Thao Beck and Ardath Church update their whereabouts daily on Facebook, Twitter, and their website. They started their business (salads, sandwiches, fish tacos, fresh doughnuts) because they thought that “it would contribute a vibrant new addition to the already interesting food scene” going on in Raleigh. Neither of them has “any desire for a permanent location as the mobility is part of the appeal” of what they offer.

[images from Mom's Delicious Dishes]

Not Cool!

Last week in New York city, ice cream trucks got into a brawl over territorial rights to a few feet on the street.

A video of the clash between a Mister Softee truck and a competitor with a similar name was linked on the blog The Consumerist, proving that there is nothing soft about peddlers of icy treats!

Ugly words were exchanged, followed by punches and a call for the police. The incident took place at the corner of Broadway and W. 60th St., near Lincoln Center. Content may not be suitable for tender ears…

Trouble in Paradise

The City of Atlanta Police Department revokes the vending permit it just granted to the Yumbii truck to operate on the public right of way (typically at 5th and Spring in Tech Square), claiming that such permit was issued in error!

The owner and his supportive family are scrambling to find a comparable (highly visible) spot on private property and resume a business granted full approval by the Fulton County Health Department.

Unincorporated DeKalb County, meanwhile, prohibits vending entirely, and many locations (including the Emory campus and many large buildings) are tied to preexisting food service contracts and can’t align themselves with the demands of an enthusiastic public.

What is it going to take, Atlanta? Don’t you know that the street food movement is growing by leaps and bounds as seen on the Food Network’s new show the Great Food Truck Race.

Achtung!

Curry wurst by the royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony in Dresden? Pretzels by the Reichstag in Berlin?

History and street food complement one another in Germany. Alas, we didn’t run into the guys who wear portable grills shaped like aprons and cook sausages while walking on the sidewalk (we looked) but we saw plenty that Atlanta should emulate during a ten-day blitz trip around Deutschland.