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Less than two months after closing his New Town restaurant Dudley’s Bistro, chef Jim Kennedy has already rolled out a new business venture—literally.
He'll be serving dishes "with flair" out of food truck he’s calling FoodaTude. Kennedy said he was inspired by Jon Favreau’s 2014 film “Chef,” which tells the story of a chef at a prestigious restaurant who gets a fresh start operating a food truck.
Kennedy could relate to Favreau’s chef—he closed Dudley’s due to an “amicable parting of the ways” between Dudley’s Bistro and Developers Realty Corporation, which owns the New Town mixed-use community.
An investor for a new brick and mortar operation fell through, so he decided to give the food truck a try.
“I saw it as an emerging market for our area,” Kennedy said, noting the rise in popularity of food trucks in Virginia Beach and Charlottesville. “The Williamsburg area is pretty devoid of these things so we’re hoping we’ll start seeing more reception to it.”
FoodaTude will not be a typical food truck, Kennedy said. Meals will emphasize local ingredients, such as crab meat from Poquoson, he said. He expects the menu to rotate daily, offering burgers one day and gazpacho the next, all while maintaining a price point between $4 and $12 per item.
“We like to be able to change our menu and do things that are unique and different to the market,” Kennedy said.
FoodaTude’s first night of service was July 7, a sweltering day outside, which felt even hotter inside the truck’s kitchen. Kennedy and sous-chef Garrett Bartlett prepared miso-chile hot wings and steamed pork buns while parked outside Virginia Beer Company.
Andrew Kearns said he came out for the opening night to support Kennedy, having previously enjoyed his dishes at Dudley’s Bistro.
“I think it lives up to the quality of food we had at Dudley’s Bistro,” Kearns said. “I was sad to see him move on from that location, but if he keeps cooking up great food like this, I think he’ll be set.”
Kennedy said he is looking forward to catering events and plans to work with the College of William & Mary and Thomas Nelson Community College to bring the truck to their campuses. He’s also a supporter of zoning ordinance amendments that would allow food trucks to serve industrial areas in James City County.
“I think there are some opportunities for us to do some great things here,” Kennedy said. “It’s more than bringing a food truck to the brewery. You can really customize it for folks.”
Despite the fact he has seen studies that suggest restaurants can benefit from food truck traffic, the former restaurant owner said it wouldn’t be fair to park the truck in front of a brick and mortar restaurant.
“I do think brick and mortars need to be protected,” said Kennedy, who is also a former member of the JCC Board of Supervisors. “I don’t see the city or the county allowing these things to park anywhere.”
The FoodaTude Facebook page will be updated with the truck’s daily stops. This week, FoodaTude will alternate between AleWerks Brewing Company and Virginia Beer Company starting July 13.