Food truck puts new spin on Tex-Mex favorites
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you love great food and don’t stand on ceremony – and don’t mind literally standing while you enjoy your meal, be sure to check out Hartsville’s latest foodie sensation: the Taco the Town food truck.
Their board of fare includes some traditional selections, like seasoned shredded chicken, barbacoa beef, or carne asada, served on double corn-style taco shells, but Hudson also serves up fun takes on old favorites, like the Hillbilly Taco (catfish, cole slaw, and Old Bay sauce), or the Korean pork taco served with sweet chili napa cabbage and wasabi-lime sour cream sauce.
“We don’t actually serve authentic Mexican dishes, but we do some Tex-Mex food,” says Luke Hudson, owner and operator of Taco the Town. “It’s kind of funky, fun American-Mexican food.”
Such kitchen experimentation has yielded some delicious wins – like a red velvet churro – but Hudson says his crew is still trying to nail down a popular dessert menu.
“Chocolate and tacos don’t always go together,” he says. “But if we get creative enough, maybe they will.”
Hudson talks about cooking like it’s in his blood, and, actually, serving up unique foods and beverages is the family business – one he decided to expand and bring to a wider audience.
“My family owns Midnight Rooster, so I was working here for two or three years, and we were doing a lot of catering. Through that, I just saw a niche for on-site food sales and catering, but not necessarily with trays and all of that,” says Hudson.
The notion of branching out into the food truck business took root on the road. Through travels in Florida with his wife, a native of Homestead, Florida, Hudson says he sampled a whole lot of food truck fare, much of it Mexican or Tex-Mex and most of it very delicious.
“All the way down the Florida coast, there’s great tacos. And when we go to Charlotte or Greenville, you see food trucks everywhere you go,” he says. “I didn’t know at first whether it would work in the Pee Dee, because I’ve seen a few food trucks in Florence, but it wasn’t a really common thing to see them around here.”
Luckily, Hudson’s desire to try something new coincided with the City of Hartsville’s plans to make downtown more welcoming and social through outdoor dining. Hartsville City Council recently approved new rules governing the operation of food trucks and outdoor consumption of alcoholic beverages. Businesses that obtain the proper permits and clearances are now able to set up food trucks and sell potent potables at concerts, festivals, and other public events.
“I think Hartsville is changing and people are becoming more shop-minded. There’s more foot traffic than there used to be, and the stores are kind of working together,” Hudson says.
He notes that while Taco the Town is still primarily a catering company (booked for parties, weddings, etc.), the truck has been a big hit at Hartsville block parties and he hopes to take part in more city events in the future. For now, the truck makes regular appearances every Friday evening (from 5 p.m. until) at Bottle and Tap (621 South Fifth Street in Hartsville), so you can enjoy your meal accompanied by your favorite craft beer.
To keep up with scheduling, appearances, and the latest menu items, follow @tacothetowntruck on social media.