Amid a sea of late-generation trailers in a booming food truck industry in Austin, Texas sits the pristine and expansive Sauce Odyssey trailer. The new kid on the block officially opened its doors Dec. 16 with its sights set on serving up a unique experience to locals and tourists alike.
The 48-foot mobile kitchen trailer, outfitted and customized by Advantage Trailer, features both a restaurant and a one-of-a-kind sauce tasting bar, providing an opportunity for customers to not only eat lunch or dinner from a tasty and eclectic menu, but also sample up to 14 different sauces and then purchase a bottle of sauce on-site.
The inspiration for Sauce Odyssey, said owner Rod Crosby, was to provide exposure for sauce makers around the country. Crosby partners with makers of sauces ranking from hot sauce to masala sauce and everything in between, purchasing their sauce in bulk and then exposing it to his customers in Austin.
“I’ve had an infatuation with sauces since childhood,” Crosby said the day after the grand opening. “I was always on a kick of some sort. I always had that passion, and to now know that I can help the makers connect with an audience much beyond where they currently reside without having to spend lots of money. Someone needed to go to bat for them and I do it because I love it. Plain and simple.”
The sampling bar encompasses the rear 13.5 feet of the trailer, but since it wraps around in a U-shape, provides about 30 linear feet of sampling space. The bar-height counter top features 14 recessed, chilled cup holders to keep the sampling tubes cold, while full-size refrigerator behind the bar displays bottles of each sauce that customers can purchase. Next to each sauce sits a photo and location of the maker, providing a humanizing aspect to the sample.
The front portion of the trailer houses a full chef’s kitchen with flattops, fryers, refrigeration, and more. But the centerpiece is a floor to ceiling rotisserie that showcases the day’s cooking meat to customers viewing through the 6-foot by 3-foot service window.
“The sauce tasting side piggybacks off of the restaurant in order to survive. It’s its lifeline,” Crosby explained. “Having food and beverage is what makes it a full-bodied experience. People come, they want to taste sauces, and naturally the very next thing they want to do is they either want a beer or they want some food to go with it. So we paired those two things together because they’re very complementary.”
Crosby had been planning his idea for years but eventually landed on a trailer when he realized the costs of brick and mortar in the over saturated market. A trailer made sense for its resale value, its ability to move around the city, and the lower start-up costs that allow a small business to test the market.
After vetting several trailer manufacturers and dealers, a trip to Chicago last winter, during which owner Dan Webb and creative sales manager Jim Groveau walked Crosby through a recent food trailer they had just finished for Bojangles, sealed the deal with Advantage Trailer.
“No one else I had talked to had done something of that magnitude, so being walked through every step of that was priceless,” Crosby said. “It allowed us to know that Advantage would be capable of it, and then the feeling we got there, meeting the team, seeing first-hand hundreds of trailers in the lot and then the custom-built side…slightly a leap of faith (but had a) good feeling about those guys. They seemed very personable and professional.”
Both sides admit that completing a one of a kind trailer of that magnitude was a learning process, but the end result is not only a functional space but a spectacle, as Crosby described it. Outfitted with top of the line kitchen equipment, a retractable awning to cover the service window, a full surveillance system that includes three cameras on each side of the exterior and three on the interior, a weather-proof sound system, and a graffiti-proof ceramic coated exterior, the Sauce Odyssey trailer is a far leap from the ‘underwhelming’ food trailers that exist all over Austin, as one customer put it lightly.
Crosby was most impressed with the work of Paul Caruso, lead tech of special projects at Advantage.
“I always felt like Paul Caruso had my back,” Crosby said. “Even when I went up to do the inspection, he would point things out that could have been swept under the rug, but instead – he’s not even a restaurant operator – he would say ‘this is going to drive you insane so I’m going to fix it before it gets shipped to Austin’. And he did that a couple dozen times.”
Caruso has spent the past 20 years doing custom work as part of the Advantage Trailer family, leading the conceptualization, design, build, furnishing, and outfitting of anything one could possibly imagine to put in a trailer. In addition to his work on the Sauce Odyssey trailer, he has customized product display trailers for Verizon, AT&T, and James Hardy, full mobile kitchens for Bojangles, and much more.
“Paul was very helpful,” Crosby continued. “I think we see eye to eye. He’s very easy to work with and he’s a good communicator. He probably helped me avoid at least 20 potential issues. At least. And he can install damn near anything.”
That’s the type of service that Advantage Trailer prides itself on. Whether it’s a new build or a reproduction of something we have done before, our team of creative, solution-oriented experts can help you bring your dream to reality.
“You look at it and it’s a symbol of all your hard work,” Crosby said. “It’s light years beyond most of the food trucks in town. This is a new generation food trailer. Modern technology, modern everything, modern engineering.”
How can Advantage Trailer be your advantage in 2019? If you have a business idea, a marketing program, or a personal trailering need, give us a call at 630-524-2029 or request a custom quote today.
To see it in person, the Sauce Odyssey trailer is currently located at 1403 E. 7 St., Austin, TX 78702. For more information, visit their website or follow Sauce Odyssey on Instagram at @sauceodyssey.