Seventh Street Truck Park owner loves the tacos. Try them when it opens Aug. 25.
New Bohemia Wurst + BierHaus (newbohemiausa.com) chef/founder/owner Brian Ingram is getting ready to open his latest venture, Seventh Street Truck Park (recently changed from its original name, Seventh Street Truck Yard) food truck hall in St. Paul (214 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; truckyardusa.com) on Aug. 25.
We catch up with Ingram, 48, also COO/concept development and chef at Freight House 305 S. Water St., Stillwater; 651-439-5718; thefreighthouse.com), about his culinary influences and how he left a life of competitive skiing to pursue his love for cooking.
What’s your first food memory? My first memory is when I was 12 years old working the grill with my Uncle Flip. Our family had a small coffee shop at the airport in Homer, Alaska. It’s still around. I grew up in the restaurant business and it made me know that whatever I did, I needed to do something that was creative.
What was your first job in food? I started my formal culinary training when I was 14 years old. It was at Clarion Hotel and Resort in Anchorage. The school I went to was considered an alternative school where you go to regular school for four hours, and then the other half of the day was a trade school or an apprenticeship. I did my apprenticeship at the hotel. I started out as a prep cook working with the chef — his name was Al. The first day, I brought in a radio, and he ran it into the dish machine and said to never bring it again. That was my first big learning experience in the kitchen.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu right now? At NewBo, we have a stuffed Italian sausage. It’s stuffed with provolone cheese and pepperoncini peppers. It’s really creamy and tasty. It’s a brand new item we just started doing. It’s our version of an Italian sausage. It’s the same experience as a juicy Lucy where the cheese comes out of the meat. I call it our Juicy Lucy sausage.
When Seventh Street Truck Park opens, it will be the barbacoa tacos. We’re doing authentic Mexican street tacos. The roast beef is slow roasted over low heat for 24 hours. The meat just falls apart. It’s has dry smoked tomatoes, dry smoked habaneros and lots of garlic and onions. Our tortillas are all made by hand and cooked to order. So when you order the taco, we’re pressing it right there and putting in on the grill.
What’s the last thing you cooked at home? Mac ‘n’ cheese. I’m always cooking in the restaurant, so when I go home, I’m a comfort food guy. I’ve worked in Paris and New York at some of the finest restaurants in the world. But at home, I eat Hungry-Man TV dinners and mac ‘n’ cheese.
What’s something few people know about you? When I was a younger, I was a downhill skier. There’s a ski school called Glacier Creek Ski Academy in Girdwood, Alaska. It was competitive and super hard to get into — they took four kids a year. It was the ski school all the Olympic skiers went through. I used to ski with Tommy Moe regularly when I was in high school. At one time, I was ranked one of the top downhill skiers. I was a competitive skier, but then had to decide between skiing and cooking because I couldn’t do both. I followed the culinary stuff. I still ski, but I’m much slower than I used to be.
If you could eat or drink only five things for the rest of your life what would they be? Cheese I can’t live without. It doesn’t matter style or type. I love all cheeses — stinky cheese, cheddar cheese, any kind, any time. Brats because at New Bohemia I’m always coming up with new recipes. It’s something I’ve done forever that I love. I’m a comfort food guy, so meatloaf. I also love tacos — I eat Mexican food twice a week. Sushi would be my other go-to.
What’s next? We think Truck Park has a ton of length. We’re excited to explore opportunities for stadium applications, airports. With all of the success that New Bohemia has, we think it has potential to be a great brand and have a lot of growth. We’re excited to receive the Nation’s Restaurant News 2017 Hot Concepts Award for New Bohemia. We’ll looking to open 25 New Bohemia locations in the country in the next two years.