In an unexpected twist, a new food truck is rolling onto the Portland scene today. Run by Erica Dionne of Wells/Ogunquit, The Muthah Truckah will be on the Eastern Prom from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, serving a multitude of takes on a style of sandwich called Muffuletta. Apparently the sandwich (and the unique bread, similar to focaccia or ciabatta) originated with Italian immigrants in Louisiana. Find out more about the latest Sicilian-style street food to hit town since Slab.Dionne, who comes from a family of restaurateurs, shared her opening day menu along with her story. And yes, that includes an explanation for the name "The Muthah Truckah."
How can the public track you down? Is The Muthah Truckah on Facebook?
You can find The Muthah Truckah on good ol' Facebook. That will be my primary social media outlet to inform people of where the truck will be located at any given time. My goal is to have set locations throughout the week, so hungry ones know that they can definitely find me in a specific location. Thus far, Wednesdays I'll be at Rising Tide and Thursdays at Allagash. Tuesdays and Fridays will split between Spring & Temple Streets and Lincoln Park locations.
Where did the name of the truck come from?
I'm a Maine girl, I can be a little sass, a little crass, and always know when to be a lady. The Muthah Truckah name ties that all in together. A few years ago, a night out with friends, when I was first tossing around the idea of wanting to start a food truck, I was all pumped up talking about my then seemingly unreachable ideas, and one of my long-time good friends laughed and responded, "I always knew you were a Mother Trucker!" We laughed and carried on with our night. Now, a few years later, that experience stuck with me. When it came down to the name, The Muthah Truckah just fit. It ties in a little crass, a little Maine, all while still being respectable and giving you a good laugh.
What's a "Muffuletta" and how did you settle on that as your signature item?
I grew up in a small sandwich shop in the center of Ogunquit called Fancy That. It was a fun little funky shop that was frequented by all the locals and was slamming busy in the summer months with all the beach-frequenting tourists. It has since been changed to Cornerstone Pizzeria. We used to make our version of the Muffuletta. There would be two different types each day. People would line up to see what kind of Muffuletta was being served and the next thing you know, sold out!
The Muffuletta was actually first created in Louisiana. Sicilian farmers would come strolling into the Central Grocer with their wares, asking for various meats and cheeses and a chunk of bread. They'd sit down, eating off their knees, balancing all of their ingredients. I'm a little sandwich crazy. I've been making my version of the Original Muffuletta and it's a favorite. You're hard pressed to find one here in New England. A blend of Genoa salami, ham, hot capicola, provolone & Swiss, all topped with a housemade olive salad and cold pressed. It allows for the olive salad to seep into the bread, creating a delicious concoction. They taste even better taken home and eaten the next day.
Why a food truck?
I chose a food truck because it's very fitting. I started my life in a small, "down home cookin'" restaurant, owned by my mother. I grew up in Wells/Ogunquit, working for the family-owned businesses. The restaurant business is in my blood. My mother never wanted me to get into the business, as she said it would consume all of my time. She's been a huge help, however, and is very excited for this new venture.
This is late in the season to get started with a truck. Will you operate through the winter?
I will be running through the winter. I'd like to prove that I can do that, as there are many challenges that come when the snow flies. However, being a Maine girl, I know life doesn't stop when it gets cold. I'm always up for a good challenge, and this will be a fun one!