Turns out that a business plan built around gourmet pizza, no matter how good the pizza, isn’t the soundest of ideas when the economy tanks (see economy, recent).
That’s what Liz Bradley found out with her Olive Street Pizzas, lusciously seated on a buttery pâté brisée pastry. After seven years in business selling through Williams-Sonoma, Costco, and Bristol Farms, “We just got spanked by the economy,” Bradley admitted. So she knew she needed to reinvent her company, and that led her to think, “We’re all trend-conscious to some extent, so the food truck, a trend for the last three or four years, seemed to be a good way to go. L.A. invented it, and I’m importing it to Santa Barbara.”
Parking at different locations from Carp to Goleta (join their Twitter feed — “@oSTREETtruck” — or check the website to get updates), the dynamically red-orange-and-written-all-over O Street Truck is out and about, providing a wonderfully unusual mix-and-match menu. Often, that mix-and-match is on one item, as in the French-Mex tacos or Brie quesadillas. “I’ve always done Provençal, Italian, and French and wanted to stay with those roots,” Bradley said. So that means she can even work báhn mì into the menu, for she says, “I have a relative who is a Vietnamese national who is an insane cook. She introduced me to the báhn mì, and it’s a French colonial’s dish, so it sounded French to me, especially with the baguette.”
O Street Truck will also do its best to bring locally sourced ingredients. “It’s not a hard thing to do in Santa Barbara,” Bradley said. “The vegetables—you can get a really decent price locally.” That commitment to the closest and freshest sources shows up in the quality of the food, such as in an Italian cucumber salad, which seems more Greek to me, but it’s certainly tasty no matter what its country of origin.
And despite the high-quality ingredients, O Street’s prices are reasonable—a mere $2 for a taco, $4 for a pizza on Bradley’s signature French pastry crust. This isn’t a French-bread pizza—it’s more like pizza on a dessert, if for nothing else than the butter content. As the company’s VP in charge of marketing, Molly Mull, put it, “Liz flattened out the galette to make the French pastry pizza.” There’s a reason MGM Resorts in Las Vegas sells Olive Street Pizzas, after all.
Bradley and Mull are also hoping to get a lot of catering business. Since kicking off the business, the company has brought many nonprofits in to sample their food, from the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club to the Pacific Pride Foundation. Bradley said, “With this truck, it’s really affordable, and we can do a bare-minimum event for someone and it’ll be really nice.”
Mull also sees the truck doing some late nights in Isla Vista, particularly near fraternities and sororities. Not only will the truck sell, it will sometimes team up with the Greeks for charities, too. Mull also stresses O Street will be very tech-savvy getting the word out, joking, “Twitter and Facebook are more popular than blogs—darn those kids; I read that in the New York Times.”
Mull likes to stress Bradley’s copyrighted slogan is: “Cook with confidence, serve with abandon.” That seems like a perfect theme for O Street, as it offers its locally sourced, wildly diverse, greatly delicious food all about town.
Order up street-side at the O Street Truck; find its schedule at ostreettruck.com, follow on Twitter @oSTREETtruck, or be very 20th-century and call 966-1630.