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Food Truck Week: The Crème Brûlée Cart of San Francisco

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.

There’s nothing too unusual about snacking on crème brûlée, that is, unless it came from a food truck. PBS Food caught up with Curtis Kimball, also known as “The Crème Brûlée Man,” who is the creator and owner behind The Crème Brûlée Cart in San Francisco, California.

The Crème Brûlée Cart- San Francisco, California

What motivated you to open a food truck?

I got started in 2009 as a small wooden food cart in the Mission area of San Francisco just as something to do to take my mind off of my declining industry (construction). Generally in tough times, I think people crave a sense of community which oddly enough started growing up around a couple of DIY food carts on a dead-end street in San Francisco.

Where did The Crème Brûlée Cart get its name?

The name is fairly self-explanatory. It came out of the wooden cart that I began with and the bigger cart that I had permitted a year later and now we’ve just stuck with the name for our truck.

Employee Dylan Boon and owner Curtis Kimball play with fire outside their truck.

What kind of food is sold at your truck?

We only sell creme brûlée in a bunch of different flavors. It’s an unique experience to enjoy creme brûlée on the streets and I think made even more special by the variety of flavors that are available.

What inspired the menu?

The menu I come up with on my own based on things that I like or just dancing with juxtaposition and an irreverent sense of culinary humor.

The menu offerings of The Creme Brulee Cart

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

Logistics are a nightmare. I rent a kitchen and then a separate storage for my cart and then a separate storage for my truck plus an unlimited number of places where selling the creme brûlée takes place make it a daily challenge. The advantage I think is that you have the opportunity to serve a variety of demographics and a variety of locations.

How important is location?

I think location is extremely important. Not nearly as important as some other things, but it’s definitely crucial to get a sense of your customer base, or other customer bases that you think you could win over and try to get as close to where they are when they are looking for a meal.

Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone looking to start their own food truck?

There are a ton of obstacles in this industry and a ton of factors that are out of your control, but if you get in it, be ready to work. And keep working. Work harder than everyone else, because that’s one of the few things you can control.

Learn more about The Crème Brûlée Cart and stay updated with news and their locations on Twitter and Facebook.