Red Plate Blue Plate: How Food Trucks Can Help The Community

Thomas Adams, owner of Red Plate Blue Plate

Thomas Adams, owner of Red Plate Blue Plate

By Evan Schieber

Columbus-ite Thomas Adams was an expert in the tire business. Between doing global product development, selling for a large account on the east coast, and working as head of marketing for the U.S. branch of a global tire company, it’s safe to say that he had found a comfortable niche. However, after 30 years in the industry, the cracks were beginning to show.

“The last two or three years, every 8 weeks I was in China,” Said Adams. “I loved the people, but it’s rough…my health was starting to suffer, and quality of life was just tough.” After 30 years, Adams was ready to take on a new venture.

After leaving the tire industry, Adams found himself having a light-bulb moment while working in soup kitchens in Philadelphia. He realized that he could culminate his interests in fresh food and asset based community development by running a gourmet food truck.

Adams started his food truck endeavor Red Plate Blue Plate with a used Utilimaster van. After a bumpy start (his first test-drive led to his engine catching ablaze), Adams worked out the kinks and settled into serving Charleston-inspired southern coastal style of cuisine. “Kind of where the garden and the shore meet in the Carolinas, down to Georgia” Adams says.

Through an internet search for commissary kitchens, Adams found an ally in the ECDI powered Food Fort-a food business incubator featuring a licensed commissary and a full sized commercial kitchen. It provides him with many resources.
“I was on gravel before. I have sanitation here, I have an inside sink, I have a prep area. I don’t have to do absolutely everything on the truck which is what I had to do last year,” Adams noted. Adams also discovered that his personal philosophy aligned with that of the Food Fort. “The heart of ECDI is economic-based community development, so I have an instant alignment here,” he said.

Adams has big ideas driven by asset-based community development- a technique Thomas learned at his church, Sanctuary of Columbus. Asset-based community development helps communities empower themselves by taking inventory of the strengths and assets they possess. One such idea is Red Plate Blue Plate’s alter ego, Abe’s Kitchen.

“[Abe’s Kitchen] owns this thing called a H.E.A.T. menu: Healthy, Economical, and Tasty. Imagine a dollar menu, like one dollar, two dollar, four dollars. And one dollar gets you a nice, healthy, high value sandwich. Two dollars gets you a sandwich and a side. Four dollars and you’re carrying dinner home” Adams explained. Driven by food and time donated by the community it’s serving in, Abe’s Kitchen would be an example of the effectiveness of asset based community development.

Red Plate Blue Plate maintains an updated calendar at streetfoodfinder.com. In the future, they hope to develop partnerships with the burgeoning growler and brewpub industry in the University District. For questions and booking, Thomas Adams can be contacted at  or (614) 859-0809.

–Evan started working as an intern at ECDI’s Food Fort in April of 2014. He has been working closely with its director to develop new informational materials for the Food Fort as well as a portfolio of client-focused photographs. A native of Columbus, Evan has a passion for cycling advocacy and photography. Evan is currently studying writing at Antioch College, and is in Columbus for his cooperative work term. He can be reached at eschieber (at) ecdi.org, or by phone at (614) 559-0193.–

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All About Food Truck Culture in Columbus: A Quick Bite: Columbus’ Food Truck Scene

world premiere

A Quick Bite: Columbus’ Food Truck Scene is a multi-media documentary by OSU students Alexia Preskar and Dan Saltar. The final cut is ready for the world, here is a sneak peek for the world outside the Food Fort and OSU. We had a sneak peek during our Food Fort Mixer on December 2nd.  we are pretty sure they got an A.

Click Here/

Food Trucks have a Fan at Wasserstrom

We work with several business and organizations in town to source food trucks and food carts for special events and lunches. One of the sites we coordinate with is Wasserstrom on Front Street.   As a company that services the food industry, the employees at Wasserstrom love to eat well (and so do their neighbors).  We started sending vendors to the site in the summer and it has been popular enough to continue through the winter.  All of our vendors enjoy going because of the support of the neighborhood and specifically the Wassertrom employees.  When we heard that there was a budding food writer on site, we asked for some details and found that every vendor gets a review which is shared among staff.  Any new business values feedback.  The accolades are great for the ego and the complaints help grow a better product.  We checked with the creator of Tasty Review to see if we could share some of her work.  See a couple of samples below.

So – let’s share the compliments.

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OH! Burgers

OH Burgers Wasserstrom

OH Burgers specialties lie with the very fresh and moist mini burgers.  Not real sure if I’ve had better from any other restaurant.  I suggest instead of using the ketchup, put a dab of A-1 in your boat to dip in.  You don’t need much at all because the burger does all the work that your taste buds will need.

When you go down stairs there is a board listing the different burgers.  Feel free to mix and match.

Today I tried the OH Burger, the Pineapple and the Korean.  Oh WOW!  I’m missing a burger!  Did I finish it without realizing it?  Just that good!

Oh, and did I forget to tell you about the sweet potato chips?  There’s just enough sweet in them to compliment your meal. 

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Blu Olive

I ordered the beet-and-ricotta ravioli with poppy-seed butter, potato purée fennel soup and a tiramisu dessert.  The ravioli are not what you would expect.  There is a very slight sweetness with the meal and you can’t even taste the beets.  I’m love the light taste of the poppy-seed butter that is drizzled over the top.  I would order this dish every time!!!

The soup is just what the doctor ordered on this mildly cool day.  Makes me want to leave work and curl up with a good book. (Just kidding LJ )  And could you ever say anything bad about tiramisu?  The two cookies that are packaged are nice and moist. 

So go on out there everyone and enjoy. 

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Schmidt’s

Hallo,

Wie Geht Es Ihnen?

Well, I’m great!  I’m sitting here eating my German Bologna sandwich with red cabbage and spicy brown mustard on a toasted bun.  The bologna is a thick spicy grilled round slice of goodness!

Don’t know if you like red cabbage but it add a little sweetness to mellow out the heat a bit. 

And guess what else fellow employees?  I’m going to finish off my yummy sandwich with Schmidt’s world famous jumbo creampuff.  Not going to give anything away on that one.  You’ll have to get back with me on what you thought about your meal and desert. 

So there’s your invitation.  Let’s hear from you:

I have to tell you that Creampuff, WOW!!!  I haven’t had one in years but tasting it again melted away days of years and brought back that feeling that I had when I took my first bite.  Can someone throw me a rope so that I can pull myself back down from this light, fluffy, tasty cloud.

JM I think summed up Schmidt’s lunch truck just right – “Reminds me of growing up.”

And LS said – “Boy was that cream puff good!”

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Thank you Tasty Review(er) for being a great supporter!

P.S. all of the mobile food customers out there everywhere:

Again – keep in mind that compliments are always appreciated but if you have a less than positive experience with food from any vendor, let them know, it gives them a chance to make it right for you, provides an opportunity to fix it for the next customer and makes sure they can grow their business to the best of their ability.