CASPER, Wyo. – Does a new food truck in Casper have the chops to be successful? If early sales are any indication, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes.’
“The response has been overwhelming,” said Papa’s Pork Chop owner Mac McCullar. “We’re getting great feedback and everybody’s pleased with what we’re serving. We couldn’t be happier.”
After months of planning, Mac and his wife Debbie started operating their new truck in various parking lots just last week. Since then they’ve been adding new locations, including local tap houses and bars as they slowly reopen from coronavirus closures. “Everything has fallen into place,” said Mac. “God is good.”
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The couple’s road to serving pork chop sandwiches out of a truck is a twisty one.
Mac has lived in Casper since 1980, and his wife Debbie is on the Natrona County School District Board. The two also run a charity called Dominican Starfish USA, which gives resources to poor children in the Dominican Republic.
Mac has worked in the past managing tire shops, running an industrial supplies business, and most recently owned a number of local self-serve carwashes.
“We did that for a couple of years and didn’t have any fun with it,” he said, and ultimately sold them.
Mac had the idea of selling pork chop sandwiches for years before he decided to make it happen. “Circumstances just came together at the right time, and this truck became available to me,” he said.
The truck, which Mac describes as a stainless steel commercial kitchen on wheels, already had its own story before rolling into Casper.
Mac bought the truck from his brother-in-law, who bought it as a franchisee for Cousins Main Lobster after that company’s founders won a segment on the TV series “Shark Tank.” But it turned out the profit margins on a food truck in Napa, California, weren’t robust enough, so the truck was parked and offered for sale.
Last year Mac and Debbie bought it, drove it to Casper and made the necessary mechanical and cosmetic repairs. Mac says his grandkids call him “Papa,” so the family decided to use that in the name.
The pork chop patty comes from a decades-old restaurant in Montana named John’s Pork Chop, said Mac. It’s flattened pork loin that is breaded and lightly fried before being frozen and packaged for restaurant use. The rest of his menu is mostly preparatory, including a sloppy joe sandwich, and variations of ham and cheese sandwiches. Mac says eggs are on the truck, giving the option of turning any sandwich into a brunch item.
Mac and Debbie have spent time in San Fransisco and are baseball fans, so they created garlic cheese fries based on the “Giants Fries” fans get at Giants Stadium. The cheese sauce is house made, he says.
Mac said Papa’s Pork Chop is the first client to use the new Good Food Hub commercial kitchen, which is operated by Wyoming Food for Thought. All pre-prep work is done fresh in the kitchen before moving to the truck on work days, he said.
Even as most of the country was shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mac says he was never discouraged from following through with his new business.
“People are hungry on a daily basis,” he said. “People are looking for to-go food, so we got it up and going as fast as we could.”
Papa’s Pork Chop will post a daily schedule on their Facebook page. For bookings, call 307-258-5706.