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Southern food and corn cakes will take to Sacramento’s streets once again in a slightly different twist on mobile food than the popular food trucks.
Simply Southern Foods is the catering and one-time mobile food business owned by Donell Hendrix, and he said the city’s recent look-the-other-way attitude toward enforcing its controversial 30-minute limit to stops enticed him to get back in the game.
Unlike the trucks, Simply Southern Foods is contained in a 30-foot trailer.
“I was out there since back in 2005, and when the law came along, the city was always hassling us about the 30-minute window,” he said. “It takes me 30 minutes to set up, and if that’s how long we can stay there, I can’t make money as a business.”
He said the rise of popularity with mobile food vendors has seen an unspoken relaxing of the enforcement of the ordinance – which allows vendors to stay in some spaces for several hours at a time – making the business once again viable.
“SactoMoFo 4 is going to be our coming-out party,” Hendrix said. “We got the trailer out of the shop on Monday, and we’ve got pictures of the food on the side, and it should be a good time.”
Originally from Fresno, Hendrix, 42, said he came to Elk Grove after working at his family’s restaurant in Fresno, opening The Bayou off Laguna Boulevard.
“I had that for a couple of years, but then I got really sick and had to close it,” he said, adding that he started his catering business in the early 2000s and launched his trailer in 2005.
The Southern-style food offered out of the trailer is a medley of sandwiches, including barbecued tri-tip, catfish, pulled pork and pork hot links.
Sides include baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and coleslaw.
“My family is all from the South, so I have the South in my blood,” he said. “We also do things like a jambalaya, collard greens and candied yams.”
Prices for a sandwich, side and drink range from $7 - $9, depending on the meat ordered, he added.
One of the business’ unique foods is the corn cake.
Derived from a family recipe, Hendrix said he put his own twist on it, which gives the standard cornbread a texture more like cake than the rougher cornbread. It’s topped with a sugary glaze, he added.
Eric Crawford, owner of Original PoBoys, a restaurant located at Broadway and Alhambra Boulevard that serves New Orleans fare, said he hopes Hendrix is successful.
“I think it’s great. This area is heavily populated with people from the southern part of the United States, and it’s a huge market for this type of food,” Crawford said. “We have been really accepted here in this area with open arms because there’s a lack of this type of food.”
He added that he doesn’t see the business as a threat to his, but more as a complement.
“I hope he’s successful, and I hope it’s done right – that’s the main thing,” Crawford said.