Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. Chef Kevin Huyck got his idea for his food truck from watching an episode of "Royal Pains." One of the characters on the USA Network show had a food truck that served gourmet mac and cheese, and Huyck took notice.
"I thought, 'That's not a bad idea,' " says Huyck, who had wanted to open his own restaurant but didn't have the money. "A food truck specializing in mac and cheese has broad appeal, and there's nothing like that out there."
Months later, Huyck is proud owner of R.A. MacSammy's, a big yellow truck that just started hitting the streets of downtown St. Paul. Besides classic mac and cheese, it offers a rotating list of variations, including Greek mac with onions, tomatoes and kalamata olives; pizza mac with pepperoni; and cheeseburger mac with seasoned ground beef, onions, pickles and a touch of mustard and ketchup. To cover all bases, R.A. MacSammy's also has sandwiches and wraps.
For more information and locations, follow @RAMacSammys on Twitter or go to ramacsammys.com.
STILLWATER GETS TASTE OF BIG APPLE
Stillwater just got a slice of New York. Heather Mont-gomery and her father, Terry Montgomery, opened Victoriano's New York Style Pizza and Pasta, a takeout and delivery spot in the Isaac Staples Sawmill Building.
New York-style pizza is large and thin. Slices are traditionally wide and eaten folded in half.
Heather Montgomery, who grew up in White Bear Lake but had been living in Tampa Bay, Fla., says she chose Stillwater because of its quaint charm, steady stream of summer tourists and its river location.
"We were by the ocean in Florida," Montgomery says. "I have to be by a body of water."
Primebar is coming to Calhoun Square in Minneapolis, replacing the short-lived Il Gatto (and the long-lived Figlio before that).
Part of the Chicago-based Restaurants-America chain, Primebar has locations in Chicago; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Dallas; and Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Its menus feature small plates, sliders, mac and cheese and other trendy dishes.
T.G.I. TIME FOR CHANGE
T.G.I. Friday's is revamping its look and menu, and the national rollout is starting in Bloomington.
New dishes include "heavenly" hummus, ahi tuna with avocado crisps, cheddar deviled eggs and chimichurri steak.
The chain, which has been around since 1965, was looking dated, so things can only improve.
Congrats to Acqua in White Bear Lake, Joan's in the Park in St. Paul and Capital Grille and La Belle Vie, both in Minneapolis, for being on Open Table's Annual Top 100 List for Best Service in the U.S., as voted by Open Table diners.