Oliver Vonderahe has always been a little disappointed in the culinary offerings of his neighborhood of a decade. His remedy? Open a stationary food truck in the heart of Bushwick, serving one of his favorite New Orleans staples: po’ boys.
Tucked away in a lot across from Bossa Nova Civic Club (whose owners are partners in the endeavor), Orleans is enormous. When it opens Aug. 8, diners will enter the outdoor lot, place an order at the truck, then take a seat at one of the half dozen or so wooden picnic tables. Restrooms are on site, and the truck will serve beer and wine, as well.
Vonderahe worked at Roberta’s since its opening, so he’s not new to the world of food service. Over the past ten years, he’s split his time between Bushwick and New Orleans, where he got the idea for the truck during a two-year stint.
“I went back down to New Orleans recently and did a trail in a few kitchens that I thought were the best po’ boy kitchens out there,” Vonderahe says. “Southern hospitality is not a myth. They were really happy to share everything they had and all their knowledge and recipes, because they’re proud of what they do, and they want us up here to be able to taste it too.”
Vonderahe hopes to bring some of that hospitality north. “We’re New Yorkers, so that means we’re from nowhere. We’re from all around,” he says. “The vibe has got to be as friendly or friendlier than New Orleans. And that’s not hard for us, because we’re just happy people and we love making people happy.”
Which the menu alone is bound to do. “There’s not actually any place in New York City to go and get a po’ boy,” Vonderahe says. “There’s a couple on the menu at various spots around town, but I was really looking for the standard format po’ boy stand like they have in New Orleans.”
Orleans, corner of Myrtle Ave. and Hart St., Bushwick
Correction: The original version of this post was changed to correct the spelling of Oliver Vonderahe’s name.