Food Truck Week: TaKorean of Washington, D.C.

From coast to coast we’ve searched to find some of the quirkiest, interesting, original, and of course delicious food trucks around. Each day we’ll introduce a new truck and let you discover why it made it to our list.

Blending Korean Barbeque and Mexican Tacos, TaKorean of Washington, DC serves-up Asian inspired tacos to lunch-goers in the nation’s capital. PBS Food spoke to owner and creator, Mike Lenard, to find out what makes this food truck tick and learn what are some of the challenges to owning and operating your own food truck.

Lunchtime at TaKorean- Washington, DC

TaKorean serving hungry customers

What motivated you to open a food truck?

I’ve always been passionate about exotic foods and fusion concepts, in addition to wanting to own my own business and grow something that I loved. Opening a gourmet food truck has turned out to be a great idea.

What is TaKorean?

TaKorean is a combination of the words Taco and Korean. The food concept is Korean BBQ Tacos.

What kind of food is sold at your truck?

We sell Korean BBQ TaKos. The concept places Korean marinated and grilled meats such as Bulgogi and Tangy chicken, in soft corn tortillas with asian style slaws such as a fresh Kimchi style slaw, cilantro, spicy sriracha sauce, and cool lime crema. It is truly delicious!

Chicken Tacos

What inspired the menu?

I wanted something that was delicious, consistent, and fast to the customer. The menu is simple enough to keep the quality extremely high, but has enough selection and customizable options to give each customer a perfect meal.

What are some of the challenges and advantages with operating a food truck as opposed to having a traditional restaurant?

We face a ton of different challenges such as:

  • Down time related to vehicle maintenance/breakdowns
  • Need to pay for and maintain two or more separate facilities: mobile (truck) and brick and mortar (depot/commissary)
  • Unpredictable business hours (due to traffic, parking, weather, mechanical issues, etc.)
  • Unpredictable operating costs related to fuel prices (gas, propane, diesel)
  • Frequent and untimely disruptions to service related to unfounded challenges to our operating authority (licenses, permits, etc.)
  • Weather (runs our business)
  • Small amount of space and limited volume capable
  • Can’t prep while serving
  • Only 1 window to take orders versus many for most fast restaurants
  • Many people (would argue majority of people) simply won’t eat from a truck
  • Less variety

Korean BBQ meets Mexican Tacos

How important is location? How do you decide/ plan your locations?

Location is important, but you can build locations if you’re patient. The more you visit a location and engage different communities via. Social media, the more you can expect turn out in those locations. Of course there are a few dense locations that are a slam dunk each time, but we don’t like to over saturate those areas.

Learn more about TaKorean and stay updated with news and their locations on Twitter and Facebook.