LA’s Matt Chernus and Ryan Harki, successful hamburger food-truck entrepreneurs, recently opened a bricks-and-mortar location, dubbed Valhalla, in the Alhambra Renaissance Center in Alhambra.
Chernus and Harkins say their Grill ‘Em All food truck experience was great fun but they had their eyes set on opening a restaurant all along. The new eatery serves up the most popular hamburgers from the Grill ’Em All truck, plus Belgian-style fries and homemade chili. The restaurant’s ambiance captures the feel of the pair’s food truck, thanks to posters of heavy metal rockers, TVs and loud music.
The burger grillin’ duo became famous in 2010 when they won the Food Network’s first Great Food Trucks Race, a reality show that pitted seven food truck operations in a cross-country rivalry as they attempted to earn the most money. This effort was complicated by the fact that contestants didn’t have social media to help draw crowds and had to depend on parking in what they thought would be great, food-vending locations. Some cities where they worked were not food-truck savvy, so attracting customers was tough.
Originally, Chernus and Harkins hesitated to enter the Food Network contest since it would take them away from their clientele for several weeks. But they also recognized the publicity value of being part of the zany show. They took a big chance, and it paid off. They returned to LA victorious.
Operating a food truck business can be a challenge every day of the week – even if you’re not taking part in the Great Food Trucks Race. Our gourmet food trucks, The Hungry Nomad (877-NOMAD-10), Hang 10 Tacos (855-5-Hang-10) and Greenz on Wheelz (855-6Greenz), travel the roads of Southern California, serving office workers on the streets, catering big parties and intimate gatherings, helping make rehearsal dinners and wedding receptions go smoothly, feeding hungry crews on movie sets and demonstrating to employees how much their bosses love them.
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