Food truck trend emerges in Cartersville
by Matt Shinall
Aug 08, 2012 | 3802 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Customer Pete Marcellini orders a barbecue plate form Alisha Wilbert from her mobile kitchen parked in an area shopping mall lot.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Customer Pete Marcellini orders a barbecue plate form Alisha Wilbert from her mobile kitchen parked in an area shopping mall lot. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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In a growing trend dubbed the foodie culture, more Americans are branching out in their culinary pursuits while others simply demand higher quality and greater options. An emerging industry of mobile kitchens has risen up to meet the growing demand and more may soon be seen in Bartow County.

In many cities, food trucks can now be found on nearly every street corner and some areas have designated entire parking lots where a food court of mobile eateries will assemble for lunch and dinner.

Cartersville's burgeoning food-truck industry is now being led by Alisha's Kitchen, a barbecue food truck making the rounds throughout Bartow County. Larry and Alisha Wilbert are the owners and operators of Alisha's Kitchen with Larry cooking up Alisha's barbecue recipes in a custom-built mobile walk-up restaurant.

With a diverse background in the food industry, from family-owned restaurants to barbecue contest judging and competition, the Wilberts didn't make the plunge into food truck ownership until Larry lost his job to economic hardship.

"We decided to just go for it. We started looking for a food truck and we found this little trailer on Craigslist; it was perfect for what we needed; and then we bought a bigger smoker, Alisha said. I love the flexibility of being mobile and if one place dries up, we just pick up and move to the next place.

"We love doing events and festivals, and we enjoy catering.

Alisha's Kitchen travels between weekend events and festivals making time on Thursday and Friday for lunch customers throughout Bartow County. The local couple also travel regularly to Kennesaw for a weekly food-truck gathering called Dinner at the Depot. With multiple food trucks and a couple of dessert trucks on hand each Monday night at the train depot in downtown Kennesaw, guests have their pick of food options.

"It's just a fun way for the family to come and eat dinner and the kids to play and have a good time picking out whatever you want. If this one wants one thing and this one wants something else, you can get it all at one place, Alisha said. I'm hoping we can start that here in Cartersville. ... That's just to bring awareness to downtown. That's why Kennesaw does it, because we don't pay to be there, it's just to make people more aware of the shops and things downtown."

Alisha's Kitchen serves pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket and pork spareribs all prepared with Alisha's homemade sauce and spice rubs. Their most popular item, however, is the monster tater, a large baked potato with ranch dressing, homemade barbecue sauce, two types of cheese and choice of meat.

When not on the road attending events, Alisha's Kitchen often participates in fundraising efforts, including several Relay for Life events where a portion of proceeds go to the cause. Like many in the food truck industry, they use social media to let customers know where they'll be. Alisha's Kitchen can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Alisha Wilbert looks forward to the food-truck industry expanding in Bartow and has a friend starting her own truck soon called Southern Girl's Grill.

For more information, call Alisha's Kitchen at 678-986-8238, visit www.alishaskitchen.com or search for them on www.facebook.com.