RED WING -- In the past year, Sheryl McCall and Raylene Robles had many opportunities to quit.
They could’ve quit when their truck broke down on the highway shortly after purchasing it. Or when they spent days stripping the paint off of the same temporarily broken down truck for hours on end. Or even when they were trying to decide what to put on their menu and where to park their truck.
Still, with all of those challenges presenting themselves, the mother-daughter team keeps rolling.
McCall and Robles own Warm Toasties, a food truck in Red Wing that’s serving up fast and delicious food.
McCall does the cooking, according to pair. When she’s not running the food truck, she’s cooking at St. Crispin Living Community. McCall recalled all of the times her children’s friends would come over to get a decent home cooked meal.
That’s something that McCall would do for herself growing up. As the youngest of six, McCall had to fend for herself, cooking eggs and oatmeal at a young age.
For Warm Toasties -- a phrase created by Robles’ son who would describe anything that was warm as such -- they’re making panini, grilled sandwiches, wraps, grilled burritos and a lot of other on-the-go food.
The food truck operates Thursday, Friday and Saturday this fall, but the owners also drive to private parties and events. They’ve found a welcoming home on Thursdays at 3M and on Fridays at BIC. The best way to catch them is to keep up on their Facebook page.
Finding a consistent spot with customers was difficult, the pair said. Being this was their first year in business, they admit to being fairly naive .
“When we first started out, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing, we had no clue,” McCall said. “We didn't know how much food to buy, we didn’t know how much to prep, we didn’t have any clue because neither one of us had ever done it.”
Over the summer, McCall and Robles learned where they want to be and what they want on their menu. They are efficient, with Robles taking the orders and McCall preparing the food.
It should take five minutes total from Robles getting the order to Robles handing the sandwich to the customer, according to the pair. They have to work around 30-minute lunch breaks, so they have to be on their game.
The truck has been a consistent problem for them though. When they finally purchased a truck, the alternator broke down on the ride home. Thanks to McCall’s husband, who’s job title is taste tester and fixer, the truck made it to the house.
Cleaning up the outside gave them confidence.
“It was like, you’d put two things in it and it needs 15 more things … It was insane,” Robles said on the truck. "But when we finally got to the point of pulling it out of the garage, it was pretty exciting.”
McCall has always wanted to open a restaurant. When Robles moved from Colorado to Red Wing, it jump started Warm Toasties. For now they’ll make the truck work.
While it’s been a “wing and a prayer” kind of learning curve, the mother-daughter duo don’t have any regrets.
Although they do admit that starting with a trailer, rather than a food truck, could’ve been a better option. Especially since trailers don’t break down.
But when they see someone bite into one of their sandwiches --the cubano and the pickle bacon cheese with garlic dill aioli are the favorites -- it's all worth it.
Warm Toasties will close for the season once the weather becomes colder and more inclement.
McCall’s advice when you come is simple: “Come hungry, leave happy.”