Amanda Amico could easily write a book entitled "Lessons learned from operating a food truck." She has plenty of material to fill the pages since launching Amy's Truck in October 2012. One lesson is how parking a food truck at Larkin Square was the perfect place at the perfect time to land a new business opportunity.
Amico has been named general manager of the Swan Street Diner, a new brick-and-mortar venture in Larkinville that's expected to open this fall.
Don't worry - Amico isn't giving up the food truck. She shares the diner plans, her newfound mechanical skills, favorite menu items and more.
Question: What are the plans for Swan Street Diner?
Amico: The goal is to open this fall next to Hydraulic Hearth. The idea is that the area could use another spot, another good place to cater to workers in the area and people in the neighborhood. The way it's described to me, it's another piece to the neighborhood. It's really exciting and people are pumped.
Q: How did the diner idea come about?
A: Larkin Development Group found a 1937 Sterling diner in Newark, N.Y. They are refurbishing it. It's almost done. An addition is being built with a kitchen and bathrooms. We'll attach the diner to the addition next month.
There's construction on the site to put a parking lot in place. I have diner experience - I used to manage Amy's Place and now I run Amy's Truck so they thought I'd be a good fit because we've done business together.
Q: What type of food will the diner specialize in?
A: We'll do breakfast and lunch to start. The hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.-ish. Everything will be made from scratch: fresh potatoes for home fries, pancakes, omelettes and diner classics like meatloaf, potpie and fresh burgers.
Q: And you will continue to run Amy's Truck so customers can find you at Food Truck Tuesdays in Larkin Square. If you had to pick a favorite menu item from the truck, what would it be?
A: Veggie Wet Shoes - curly-Q fries smothered with lentils, peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese - that's my personal favorite. For customers, it's probably the Margie - charbroiled chicken with seasoned fries and tomatoes with garlic spread and hot sauce all wrapped up in a pita.
Q: What lessons have you learned by running the truck for more than four years?
A: I've learned a million! I've learned how to do basic mechanical like fix a generator - minor things. I'm a part-time mechanical problem solver. I've learned about running a business and the whole new world of food trucks. I had to get the truck brake lines redone and I was off the road for a week earlier this year. I learn something new every day.
And it's been neat to see Buffalo grow. I go to all areas of Buffalo that I didn't frequent in the past. I watched HarborCenter be built.