Ginger the dog knew exactly what she wanted from Hoosier Fat Daddy
Bus Cafe: a treat. It seems whenever Tom Rockwell's bright blue
converted school bus pulls up by the War Memorial on Meridian St.,
Ginger (and her human) show up and Ginger waits, panting, until
Rockwell or his sister-in-law clamors down with something tasty. On
this day it was a handful of tater tots.
We were drawn to the Shrimp Salad Sandwich ($5.99), a sumptuous serving
of chilled tender shrimp with what amounted to egg salad, including
celery, tomatoes and crispy lettuce wrapped in a commodious slice of
wheat bread. Even on a sweltering day this combination retained a high
As did an order of the Broccoli Salad ($1.49), a sweet yet tangy
combination of fresh broccoli florets mixed with cherry tomatoes and
accented with flecks of radish and quality bacon.
An Empanada Dawg ($3.99), a quarter-pound beef dog in an empanada wrap,
the Pulled Jerk Pork Sandwich ($5.99) and a Steak Sandwich with Poblano
Drizzle (also $5.99) were tempting.
Rockwell, who worked as a nurse for 20 years until taking the food
truck plunge last February, is an affable gent who was turned on to
food trucks by his nephews in California and egged on by his son, who's
an executive chef in Louisville. "There's 9,000 of them in Los Angeles,
with eight million people" he says of food trucks. "There's 5,000 of
them in Chicago and 5,000 in New York City. We're a city of 2.5
million - if you count all the surrounding counties - and we have 12.
Maybe it's our time."
Rockwell's Bus Cafe looks for locations where people might otherwise
have to drive in order to grab a bite to eat. "We come downtown a
couple of days a week and we go north a couple of days a week. On
Friday evening we go to the Westfield Farmers Market and hang out up
He's looking forward to the Super Bowl. "They're expecting about
200,000 more people than they can seat. We've talked to the city and
there are several groups working on this. They're even talking about
having groups of food trucks in designated areas."
For Rockwell, serving folks in the middle of winter won't be that
different from working through a heat wave. He laughs: "It's just as
hard to run out when it's freezing to get something to eat as it is
when it's too darn hot!"