Holy Cow, a mobile food service started by the Haywood Pathways Center, is officially open.
Food is served at 1534 S. Main St. in Waynesville on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Canton residents can find the truck in the First Baptist Church parking lot at 74 Academy St. each Thursday and on Friday, food will be served out of the First Presbyterian Church parking lot in Waynesville at 305 N. Main St.
Locations in Clyde and Maggie Valley are also being explored, said Mandy Haithcox, executive director of Haywood Pathways Center.
Holy Cow offers a simple menu with the signature lunch item of a hand-patted hamburger, hand-cut fries and a drink for $9 as the most expensive item sold.
There will be hot dogs and other items, as well such as a meatball sub, philly cheese sandwich and chicken salad. Initially, lunches will be served Monday through Friday, but the food truck can also be reserved to serve food at festivals, gatherings and even church picnics, Haithcox said.
The target market for the weekday meals will be those in the workforce who need a lunch break.
The mobile food enterprise was started as a way to help defray the costs of operating the nonprofit organization that offers a place for those without a home to stay as they are getting their lives back on track.
The Pathways Center was originally scheduled to open in early August, but it took about a month to get the plumbing and electrical fixes done to clear a health department inspection, Haithcox said.
The Haywood Pathways Center, which has an operational kitchen where daily meals are prepared for an estimated 60 residents, is the commissary for Holy Cow.
North Carolina treats food trucks as motor vehicles. They are licensed by the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles the same as cars and trailers. As such, the mobile operations must be attached to an established commercial kitchen.
As part of the health inspection, several upgrades were needed at the Pathways Center kitchen before the food truck could go on the road, Haithcox said.
Once all the paperwork was set, the walk-in freezer at the Pathways Center unexpectedly quit — a $5,000 repair.
“Staff transferred everything in our walk-in to the Sheriff’s Department and Haywood Christian Ministry freezers,” Haithcox said. “We did a Facebook fundraiser while the repair service waited for the part to come in. All but $1,200 was raised in less than a week. Once the repair was completed and food was returned, the inspector came back and all permits are in order.”
Funds to start the social enterprise — a business established to support a defined social mission — came exclusively from donations. One donor provided the $8,000 required to buy the former carnival trailer, Haithcox said, while the Dogwood Trust provided a $7,500 grant to defray renovation costs and the Waynesville Sunrise Rotary Club applied for a matching grant through the international organization that brought in another $4,000.
Initial estimates are that the business will generate between $50,000 and $75,000 annually, Haithcox said.