South Shore native Jonathan Huang loves food. He delights in new tastes, bringing food trucks and fresh lunch options to a Quincy office park last week.
“My first restaurant job was when I was 13,” said Huang, owner of The Savory Cater. “Convenience and variety is what my company is trying to offer.”
Huang was dismayed by limited lunch options at Quincy’s 400 Crown Colony Drive, or the Crown Colony office complex. It boasts 2 million square feet of office space, with a few cafeterias in walking distance. Huang surveyed about a dozen workers, who said they either walked to a cafeteria, packed lunch or drove to get food.
“The cafeteria would serve the same thing over and over again,” Huang said. “If you order food in Quincy Center and drive to pick up lunch, that’s half of your lunch hour gone.”
Having brought food trucks to Waltham office parks, Huang worked with Crown Colony’s management. The City of Quincy does not allow food trucks on public streets, but trucks can park on private property. After Huang completed the permitting process with help from Kevin Tam of Chicken & Rice Guys, the first food truck pulled up at Crown Colony on Jan. 18.
“Our first day was great,” Huang said. “We had little to no marketing, but people from North Quincy office parks drove to Crown Colony because they heard about it from social media.”
For now, Chicken & Rice Guys will serve lunch on Thursdays at Crown Colony.
“In mainstream media, particularly Yelp, some of the best Asian restaurants don’t get the publicity or coverage they deserve, for some reason or the other,” said Chicken & Rice Guys CEO and founder Ian So. “Jon is passionate about presenting those restaurants in a good light, which is great for them, the consumer and ultimately broadens the horizons of Boston diners. I am super thankful to have Jon be a champion for Chicken & Rice Guys, and other Asian restaurant businesses.”
Huang said he’s fielding calls from other food trucks and plans a weekly lineup of meals.
“I focus on ethnic cuisine when working with corporate offices, as variety is the spice of life,” Huang said, who bets workers are sick of sandwiches and pizza. “I’ll recommend Cambodian or Ethiopian food, and it’s usually a huge hit.”
As Boston and Cambridge have opened public streets to food trucks, Huang hopes Quincy will follow suit.
“If Quincy Center and Wollaston Beach housed food trucks, it would be a great attraction,” Huang said. He lived near Wollaston Beach, which had three restaurants serving similar cuisine and no food carts.
Huang was born in South Boston to Chinese immigrants and raised in Randolph, where his mother got him his first job — at age 9 — as a shampoo boy in her salon. “Mum” encouraged him to work in restaurants in high school to “learn the value of a dollar,” which included stints at Kowloon and other restaurants.
“I want to open up worlds to people,” Huang said. “I really love what I do.”
This post is also available in: Chinese