ATE3ONE, STARTED BY LONGTIME CHEF KASIA MASLANKA SMITH, SERVES UP HOT MEALS AT A FOOD TRUCK EVENT IN SCOTTS VALLEY. PHOTO: CHIP SCHEUER
Kasia Maslanka Smith, who owns the food truck Ate3One with her husband Jonathan, says she’s sensitive about sharing space with brick-and-mortar restaurants. She would rather see the regulations relaxed for public areas where there are no other food options. “I’m not going to go to downtown Santa Cruz because Hula’s [Island Grill], for example, can’t pack up their restaurant and go on the road. I wouldn’t do that, unless it was a private event,” says Smith.
A chef for more than 10 years, Smith opened Ate3One in 2014 after working with food trucks in San Jose. She recently purchased a second truck and sees lots of room for growth for food trucks in Santa Cruz. However, reaching the customer base is crucial, crediting Kates and her events for the opportunity to develop a following.
Both Smith and Watson say that although opening a food truck is expensive, it doesn’t even approach the cost of opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the area. Mobile vending is a much more affordable way for entrepreneurs, especially young people, to enter the industry and become business owners.
“The amount [of food trucks] we have is great,” says Smith. “It’s always going to be kind of small because of the population, but there’s definitely room to grow.”