For the past two years, young men who’ve had run-ins with the law have served food out of the Vibe 305 food truck.
They serve food with names like the Transformation Burger and the Gratitude Pulled Pork Sandwich. But starting Nov. 14, they’ll be serving a new menu at their new temporary home, Wynwood Yard. It’s a food truck incubator in Miami run by fellow food trucker Della Heiman. Trucks there will have mentorship opportunities from local chefs and business leaders who will be helping refine their food and finances. At the end, operators of the trucks will get an opportunity to pitch investors to expand their operations.
For Vibe 305, they’re hoping to get enough money to open a stand-still cafe in Wynwood. The cafe will create roughly 50 more jobs for these young people, who often find it challenging to get jobs because of their records.
“All these boys were changing their lives and they really wanted to turn them around, but they would come to me and say, ‘Ms. Colleen, I need work, I need money,’ ” said Colleen Adams, founder of Empowered Youth, a court diversion program.
So she created jobs for the kids. Graduates of Empowered Youth get an opportunity to work on the food truck.
Eighteen-year-old Christopher Major has worked for Vibe 305 for a year and a half. He got picked up by the police on an illegal concealed weapon charge, but today he works at Joe’s Stone Crab with a few of the other guys who got their start on the truck.
“At first I didn’t like it, but now I do because it keeps me out of trouble and keeps me busy,” says Major.
At a training session for their new menu, he cuts pork into even pieces and throws them into a pan with onions, garlic, rosemary and other ingredients. The entire room smells heavenly.
The pork will go into a banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich that Major is skeptical about.
“The menu, it’s kind of weird, but you got to try new stuff,” said Major.
Brad Kilgore, chef at the restaurant Alter, is the guy responsible for the “weird stuff.” He is also the guy who helped revamp the menu, turning standard American fare into four-star American fare. (Some of the menu items use components of dishes that Kilgore serves in his well-reviewed restaurant in Wynwood.)
Kilgore and other chefs will help mentor the young guys in the food truck during its three-month residency at the Wynwood Yard. They have also donated a lot of new equipment for the truck.
At the end, the guys hope they can pitch investors to start a stationary cafe on land they're already leasing in Wynwood. They need $100,000 and that will create about 50 more jobs for people like Christopher, people whose second chance at life is not that easy.
Wynwood Yard is at 70 NW 29th St.