For Marty and Donna Oard, their food truck is a bit more than just a rolling stock of kimchi, beans and tortilla.
Serving a mash-up of Latin-Asian cuisine, Karnage Asada has garnered accolades from regional publications, but the truck’s creators believe leaving a mark on the communities in which they serve while promoting the mission of food trucks everywhere is more important than the accolades they receive along the way.
“We have really come a long way, but what can we do better? What can we as a group do better and what we can do as individuals? We need to be more cohesive as food trucks,” Donna Oard said.
Along with Chris Smith and Robby Willey, the owners of the new Virginia Beer Co., Marty and Donna Oard worked with York County in drafting a new ordinance to allow food trucks to operate in the county outside of special events.
Karnage Asada is the first to receive a permit through the new ordinance, which was approved in January by the county’s Board of Supervisors and allows food trucks to set up on developed and occupied private properties throughout the county with the permission of the property owner.
As breweries and food trucks become more symbiotic, Oard said the ordinance also helps create a fair environment for all food trucks operating in a county.
“I’m passionate about helping food truckers understand where they can and cannot go,” she said.
She added food trucks are not meant to take away from area restaurants and encourages restaurants to promote their establishments by launching food trucks to help shepherd more people into a restaurant.
“It’s a completely different demographic,” Oard said. “You have a food truck customer and you have a restaurant customer. You have two different customers.”
For the Oards, Karnage Asada took its first dollar in January 2014 and was based primarily in Norfolk before expanding their reach in a growing competitive market.
“It’s really hard. Every day you bring your A game. Every day you got to show up. It’s competitive,” Oard said.
The truck now travels as far as the Outer Banks in North Carolina and as far north as Leesburg for weddings and special events.
A couple of home cooks who enjoy good beer and wine, the Oards took their West Coast roots from Southern California, pairing it with the spice of Asian cuisine and Donna Oard’s Mexican heritage while working with fresh, local ingredients.
“I’ve been cooking since I was a little girl. I was the one in the kitchen with my mom and grandma,” Oard said. “My husband has always loved cooking. That’s what brought us together.”
Their goal in York County is to first have regular visits to two breweries, Virginia Beer Company and AleWerks Brewing Co.
The truck has already visited AleWerks and will be on tap for Virginia Beer Company’s grand opening Saturday.
“If you find an industry where people want you, then you go and pursue that,” Oard said. “We have a great family relationship with breweries. We believe business is business, but we also believe business is relationships.”
Oard said working with breweries helps spread the word to those interested in bringing in food trucks, such as other businesses and catering gigs.
The truck is booking festivals up until this fall and sets its lunch schedule far in advance to let patrons know where to find them.
As a necessity from popular growth, a second truck is in the works and has yet to be designed.
The design will be picked through a contest in Hampton Roads and hand the winner $1,000 as part of the buy local mentality.
“We’ll be able to give some local artist a chance to display their work and put it out there,” Oard said.
To see Karnage Asada’s schedule and for more information, visit karnageasada.com.