Some food trucks evolving into brick-and-mortar restaurants

(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
Updated: Jul. 18, 2018 at 11:19 PM CDT
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(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Food trucks have become increasingly popular in Northwest Louisiana over the past few years.

Some have been successful enough to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in an effort to try to grow business.

But taking a menu from the road to the table can be easier said than done.

As rain dripped on Shreveport, Ono's Traditional Hawaiian Cuisine food truck owner Sione Maumalanga said aloha to hungry customers.

And the loyal foodies were willing to get wet for his unique cuisine.

"I knew that if I was to share the Hawaiian culture as far as food goes and the aloha spirit in Shreveport, I felt like everyone would adapt to it," Maumalanga said.

For two years, he has been dishing out authentic Hawaiian meals from his food truck in Northwest Louisiana.

"We start at 5 a.m. I start at 4 to get the prepping started, the shopping," Maumalanga explained.

"From there, we go all the way from 6, 6:30. And we scrub down the truck and re-plan and prep for the next day."

Maumalanga said he sells out all the time, forcing him to expand.

"I figured that opening up a brick-and-mortar, we can bring more product of what we do carry in Hawaii here to showcase for our guests in Shreveport."

Downtown, the people behind a former food truck finally are living out their dream of having their own restaurant.

The Missing Link's specialty is gourmet hot dogs.

And transitioning that business model from food truck to the table can be quite the challenge."

"From the beginning, we knew we wanted a brick-and-mortar. That was the end-game goal," said Jessica Horn, co-owner of the restaurant that now has been in business on Texas Street for a week.

And after five years of crafting quirky hot dogs on the road in a three-man truck, The Missing Link now has a specific challenge of taking one day at a time.

"Learning how to manage other people, how to train other people, how to deal with situations as they arise if someone can't show up for work. So what do we do," Horn said.

As the business continues to transition into its rustic, crafty new home, she has some advice for other food truck operators looking to one day settle down for good.

"I would say have your own specialty. Don't do something that's kinda been done all over with the restaurants. You really want to create an amazing product that's unique and that people love."

That's a recipe for success that Maumalanga is working overtime to master.

His Ono's Hawaiian Cuisine restaurant is set to open next month near Gilbert Drive at Gregg Avenue in Shreveport.

And The Missing Link plans to continue using its food truck on a smaller scale.

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