I had the pleasure to interview Packhouse Meats when they brought their food truck to Hubert Company headquarters. It was an eye-opening experience to see that passion and hard work they put into making their truck successful. All the team members of the truck share passion and hard work in the whole process, from driving the truck, to preparing the foods, to serving.
While doing the interview, I could feel the energy and passion that goes into making the best meatballs in town. They have their challenges, but they let the passion of success prevail.
One of those team members, Corrie Sibrel, told us about their experience for our series, My Experience… Food Truck Exclusive. As consultants to food service operators, we love to learn about potential customers, the challenges they face and how we can help them grow their business.
Food Truck Exclusive: Q&A with Corrie Sibrel from Packhouse Meats
Where does the inspiration for Packhouse Meats come from?
Corrie Sibrel: “The restaurant was open for about three years before they got the food truck. They drove up to New York and there was this meatball shop there. That gave them the idea to do all different kinds of meatballs. About a year and a half into the restaurant they thought, how can we make this better? The food truck became the idea. They drove up to New Jersey and got a brand new, custom 2016 food truck. It took about three or four months. We just finished our first year.”
Tell us about your custom truck (and who’s behind the wheel)?
CS: “Inside the truck we have a nice, brand new generator. A lot of other trucks have to plug in wherever they go or the generator has to sit outside of the truck. We also have steam tables in there, we have two coolers, we have an oven, stove, fryer, we have another oven where we cook the meatballs. We have a three-compartment sink and we have a bunch of storage. It’s actually it’s really nice.”
The crew consists of me, Marcus and Chad. Chad tells us what to do and things like that. Marcus helps him with cooking. I’m the face of it I guess. I get to stand outside and be nice to people and try to get them to order the meatballs. We get along very well and we actually work great as a team. At first it was a little rocky but we’ve grown to love each other and get along great. We’ve become great friends through this experience.”
Tell us about the menu.
CS: “You can get a pipe which is an eight-inch hoagie on an baguette with three meatballs, sauce and cheese. The bowl comes with two meatballs, sauce and a breadstick. You can get one meatball on a slider bun with sauce and cheese. We also have salads you can get with one or two meatballs. And then you have five to six ball selections. We always have one vegan option and one gluten free option. We try to make sure we have something for everybody. And then you choose your sauce and you can choose to add a side.”
What are the advantages of having a food truck over a brick and mortar restaurant?
CS: “You get to come to the crowd, you don’t have to sit and wait for people to come to you… Taste of Cincinnati was a big hit. We go to Fountain Square two or three Thursdays out of the month and we do great there. We go through all the businesses around there and everyone comes out. It’s pretty nice. We go to Wool Fest, which is at the end of September. That’s probably our best event. We’re the first people to get in in about 20 years. They only have one meatball truck, one Chinese place, you know, one of each.”
How do you know how many meatballs to make?
CS: “We try to get an estimate of how many people will be there and then we double it. We never want to run out. We’d rather be over-prepared. We do two times what we think we need and we never run out. If we have leftover food, every Tuesday Chad takes it to the homeless and feeds them in Covington.”
CS: “We prep at our warehouse in Newport. We prep pretty much every day. Every day. It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot harder to do in the truck because it’s not as a big as a kitchen and you only have a tiny sink to wash all the dishes. So that makes it challenging.”
Is there a secret to making the perfect meatball?
CS: “Ah, yes. But we can’t share the secret.”