Biker Jim gets his first food truck -- and has plans to go national

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Biker Jim now has two hot dog carts, a brick-and-mortar and a new food truck that will go national.
The text from Biker Jim simply read: "Tired. Taking a nap." The sultan of sausages and high-priest of hot dogs had just returned from a food truck show in Las Vegas, where he pimped frankfurters from the kitchen of the very first Biker Jim's food truck -- which, if Jim has his way, will soon be franchised all across the country.

Jim Pittenger, aka Biker Jim, already has an eponymous brick-and-mortar on Larimer Street, along with gourmet hot dog carts on the 16th street Mall and at the Auraria campus, which left his little empire absent of only one thing: a food truck, which he'd been thinking about building for months. And then, in late August, the phone rang.

"I got a phone call on the same day that I bought out my ex-partner in the restaurant, and it was a guy from Mobi Munch, a company that builds food trucks all over the country," recalls Jim. "The main idea behind Mobi Munch," he explains, is to "put formidable food concepts in trucks, and then roll out those trucks all across the country in stadiums, larger concessionaires and on college campuses." And Biker Jim's -- the concept -- will be a part of that roll-out.

"Our concept is pretty perfect for what they want," says Jim, who's now partnered with Mobi Munch. "They're responsible for rolling out new franchises on wheels, and it's up to us to cull concepts." The goal, notes Jim, is to unleash twelve food trucks -- all with different concepts -- within the next three to four months. "We don't know who all the trucks are yet, but it's a good bet that the Chairman Bao truck will be a part of it," he reveals. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Chairman Bao truck, it's a San Francisco-based, Asian meals on wheels operation that's often credited for launching the food truck movement.

Jim's truck, which is currently sheltered in a warehouse somewhere in Denver, is actually a kitchen-equipped show truck whose burners have been graced by a slew of celebrity chefs, including Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse and Giada De Laurentiis. "They've all cooked on the same truck," says Jim, adding that the truck was, at one time, the Macy's show truck.

"It's freakin' gorgeous, and probably the coolest wrap I've ever seen on a food truck," says Jim, who will keep his new set of wheels in Denver for the next several months. "We're going to do a few food truck events in Denver before we move on, and we'll definitely haul it out for those." Logistics are still being worked out for future food truck gatherings, but there's talk, notes Jim, about having a food truck party in January at the National Western Stock Show Complex.

In the meantime, Jim is entertaining a heavy travel schedule, which has taken him to Vegas and California more times than he can count. "I'm still recovering from all the travel, but we busted our asses in California and had a great test run, and we proved the concept in Las Vegas, too," he says. "We're a proven concept with national recognition, and if we can get hundreds of Biker Jim food trucks all over the country, that would be awesome."

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8 comments
epl
epl

The word "national" used in conjunction with "franchise" makes me cringe.  Hopefully the move to a national chain won't hurt the wonderful product Biker Jim's currently puts out, although I'm not overly optimistic (we're already seeing negative effects of Stranahan's going "national.")  Hopefully Continental Sausage is part of Biker Jim's national chain plans...   

Scott
Scott

I wouldn't worry about the quality of the product, becuase he doesn't make the sausages, he just heats up and resells good quality local sausages.

Mantonat
Mantonat

"we're already seeing negative effects of Stranahan's going "national.""What, does the whiskey taste bad now?

Jim Rome
Jim Rome

While I greatly enjoy Biker Jim's, especially the physical store 95% of the success is in the sausage.  I can get the same great sausages at Tony's market, and even in quantity at whole foods.  Continental should be looking to brand their own Hot Dog Trucks and cut out Jim completely.

epl
epl

Which is exactly why I said "Hopefully Continental Sausage is part of Bike Jim's national chain plans." 

As to Mantonat, I have no doubt that the taste of the whiskey will suffer in the future.  Of course, I never said anything about the taste of Stranahan's in my previous post and you simply inserted mention of the taste presumably as a pretext for your snarky comment.  I was referencing the change in personnel and decision to limit use of the name by other products who integrate the Stranahan's barrels. (well within Proximo's rights but a decision which nevertheless suggests the brand is moving away from it's Colorado roots.) 

Mantonat
Mantonat

I'm glad your prognosticating skills leave no doubt about the future of the flavor of Stranahan's - can you be more specific about the exact date I should stop buying it?

By controlling the use of their name on beer labels, Stranahan's is doing now what they should have done from the beginning. A producer of a product should never allow their name to be associated with another product they have no control over. They should also not allow other producers to use their name for marketing purposes. Sure the name gets more exposure, but the potential to be associated with an inferior product is too great as is the potential for the other company to capitalize off your name.

As far as I remember from previous Cafe Society articles, the personnel changes were purely voluntary. I was saddened to hear that the head distiller left (of his own accord), but he said himself that his duties were passed on to capable hands. the impersonal nature of business may be off-putting, but that's no reason to suspect a decline in product quality.

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