Food truck culture in Bowling Green/Bowling Green’s take on food trucks/The rise of food trucks in Bowling Green

Jamie DeRossett, of Nashville, Tenn., Owner of the Cheese Wagon, started her business early this year in May of 2017. DeRossett moves place to place serving food in front places like Rocky’s late at night.

Griffin Fletcher

Far beyond street-side tacos and tasty falafels, food trucks offer insight into a city’s culture and have become a tourist attraction all over the United States.

Although Bowling Green’s food truck scene is fairly new and still developing, a small number of trucks specializing in various food options can be found throughout the city.

Despite the relative lack of trucks in Bowling Green, those that do exist are increasingly popular.

One truck that’s been met with recent success is The Cheese Wagon, fronted by wife and husband duo Jamie DeRossett and Doughboy, a prominent tattoo artist at Carter’s Tattoo Company.

Always down for an adventure and good food, DeRossett and Doughboy started The Cheese Wagon in May 2017 because of their own love of food trucks and street-dining.

“We don’t travel a whole lot. But when we do, we eat street food,” DeRossett said. “We’re not looking for a five-star restaurant. We’re looking for what is parked by the sidewalk.”

The Cheese Wagon is known for its interesting spin on grilled cheese and various melt sandwiches.

Some of its most popular options include spinach and avocado, macaroni and pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches. The Cheese Wagon makes an effort to carry vegan options and hopes to soon offer gluten-free cuisine as well.

Because DeRossett and Doughboy both work full-time jobs, The Cheese Wagon does not yet operate on a daily schedule. Instead, The Cheese Wagon can be most often seen on weekends outside of Rocky’s Bar or at special outings it’s invited to, such as beer garden events offered at Spencer’s Coffee and similar gatherings at Blue Holler Beer Supplies.

“We’re just trying to get started,” DeRossett said. “We’ll do pretty much what we’re invited to.”

The Cheese Wagon will make an appearance at the upcoming Hops & Horses event in Glasgow this Thursday, Sept. 28, and at The Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival festival set for Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Cheese Wagon enjoys its current success and following, but DeRossett believes food truck culture in Bowling Green is still limited.

“You don’t see them [food trucks] much in random locations, ready to serve,” DeRossett said. “So far we’re still very limited in where we go and where we set up.”

Fellow Bowling Green food truck owner Emily Hyndman, who has owned and operated Emily’s Snoballs since 2011, located along the U.S. 31-West Bypass, echoes this sentiment.

“There’s not that many [food trucks],” Hyndman said. “When we first opened, there was, like, two of us.”

Though DeRossett does not believe Bowling Green should aim to house designated food truck courts, which actually exist in Austin, Texas, she thinks the answer to heightened recognition lies in active cooperation among food trucks.

“I like food trucks working together,” DeRossett said. “The more food trucks you have working together, the more people you’ll draw.”

With different food trucks specializing in different foods, customers are able to choose from an assortment of potential meals. If food truck owners could band together and plan to bring their trucks to set locations at set times, more people could be served, given the increase in available food and food options.

Hyndman believes cuisine specialization is one of food trucks’ greatest benefits.

“You can have a limited menu and just be really good at those things you do,” Hyndman said.

DeRossett cites big events as an owner’s best opportunity to work alongside and bond with other owners.

“Big events are great for food truck cooperation,” DeRossett said. “You offer a wider variety of food.”

As for the future of food trucks in Bowling Green, both DeRossett and Hyndman believe they deserve a place within the community and will only grow in popularity.

“Not being from Bowling Green,” Hyndman said, “It’s an easier way to get to know the community.”

In regards to her experience with The Cheese Wagon, DeRossett is happy to finally share her passion with so many others.

“We’ve just gotten such a positive response for our presence,” DeRossett said. “I’m pretty stoked on what we’ve done so far.”

Reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].