Mattie's Southern Kitchen is one of the latest food trucks to hit the streets of LA. Serving up (you guessed it) Southern fare, the menu is made up of stick-to-your-ribs kind of stuff, like mac-'n-cheese, shrimp and grits, fried chicken and pulled pork. "People back home would make fun of me for calling it 'pulled pork," says Mattie's owner and chef Chris Rattican. "Its real name is Eastern Carolina-style barbeque, which folks out here aren't used to. I want people to be able to come to the truck and try something new. I'd like to show people that Southern cuisine is a lot more than fried chicken, pork and more fried stuff."
Rattican, who was born and raised in North Carolina, says he's been dreaming of owning and running his own restaurant for years and has been cooking the Southern staples he was raised on for friends and family for as long as he can remember. "A few of my friends were joking that I should get a kitchen on wheels and just drive around to my various friends' houses so that I could feed all of them every night. That got me thinking."
It took Rattican about four years to get the rolling restaurant off the ground, and he says the first few weeks of business have been pretty good. "The food is the easy part."
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Rattican says the menu will change often but there will always be a few staples on hand that people can count on, including the pulled pork, which slow-cooks for over 10 hours and is tossed in a thin vinegar-based sauce.
The biggest challenge this start-up has faced so far is purely logistical. "Mattie's truck is about 8 feet longer than the average taco truck. So while other trucks need only to find one parking spot, we need to find 2 spots next to each other. This really limits our options at times and sometimes forces us to park farther away from the action. So if you know anyone who has a parking lot for us to come sling food from, just let us know!"