While the Taste of Orchard Park was a sterling night for several curious eaters on Wednesday, Chef's on the Go food truck had a far less fortunate evening.
According to Chef's Restaurant's Facebook page and press release, the red mobile eatery was set ablaze by a "significant fire," causing damage and forcing the truck out of action. The Orchard Park Fire District responded quickly, according to the post, and no one on the truck was injured.
But the truck will not be up and running again until January at the soonest, said co-owner Louis J. Billittier Jr.
"We were double booked, literally through September. October and November were pretty filled, too," Billittier said. "We have a wedding Saturday. We're trying to make good on that with our drop-off catering."
The restaurant contacted those who had booked the truck for an event, and apologized for the inconvenience.
"Luckily there was a fire crew right across the street from them," said Don Lorentz, executive director of the Orchard Park Chamber of Commerce, which ran the 14th annual Taste of Orchard Park as part of its week-long Quaker Days celebration.
Billittier said the cause has not yet been determined, but that it appears to have started between two metal walls of the truck. He said he does not know yet whether the truck can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced.
Firefighters chopped a hole in the side of the truck, which was parked on Princeton Place, Lorentz said. The fire broke out shortly before 6:25 p.m., about an hour after the event started.
Lorentz said he happened to be outside the food truck placing an order for stuffed shells and pasta when the fire started. After the fire was out, he said Chef's sent staff around to refund money to anyone who had placed an order.
Although the iconic Italian brick-and-mortar restaurant at 291 Seneca St. has served since 1923, Chef's began dabbling in the food-truck scene in 2015, rolling its popular spaghetti parmesan to major events and stopping every other Tuesday at Flying Bison Brewing, near Larkin Square.
In the comments section of Chef's social media update, Marilyn Fincel posted a video of the Orchard Park firefighters extinguishing the blaze.
Posted by Marilyn Fincel on Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Chef's on the Go is among a few vendors who've been affected by fire at food-related events. Weidner BBQ was shut down by a blaze at the 2017 Erie County Fair, while Carmine's Restaurant's brick-and-mortar location burned while the staff was serving at the Taste of Buffalo in 2015.