"Everything's working in favor of food trucks right now," says John Ban, owner of the pizza-purveying truck, The New York Slice — or, more simply, The NY Slice.
Ban knows whereof he speaks. Many around town give him credit for kicking off the local food truck movement when he and his then-partner, Arnold Park, brought the idea for West Coast Tacos to Indianapolis after a sojourn in Los Angeles.
"They call me the godfather, jokingly," laughs Ban, while watching slices of his New York-style pizza practically fly from his truck on a dank and rainy day in Nora. "It's kind of a nickname they've attached to me."
Three months ago Ban parted company with West Coast Tacos to start his own franchise. "I think it's the perfect time for food trucks," he says. "Startup costs aren't as high as brick and mortar. You're not tied to a lease. And you can offer a great product for a lower price than you would at a restaurant."
What's more, adds Ban, "The city really seems to be behind the food truck movement. They like having us here."
In choosing lunch and dinner locations, Ban looks for a spot that's easy to get to, with high foot traffic and where there figures to be demand — something he's able to assess thanks to social media. "Through social media, we know what areas want us. We've had a lot of people contact us on Facebook and Twitter."
That's what's brought the NY Slice to Nora. Sure enough, at 12:30 p.m. on an inclement day, the truck's supplies are running low. The Vegetarian Slice ($3.50) is sold out and there's no more spicy cheese for the breadsticks. No problem. We were drawn to the Specialty Slice ($3.75), a blend of pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms, anyway.
This proves to be a workman-like, thoroughly satisfying pizza slice, notable for its ultra-thin yet bubbly crust. It's salty and slightly sweet, with a pleasurably aerated texture.
Ban is looking forward to the Super Bowl in February. "We don't know what to expect," he says. "We've never been through it, but we know it's going to be insane."