By Robin Wojtanik
Fresh Out the Box is preparing to serve its Asian-inspired specialties across a counter and not out of a window for the first time ever.
After nearly three years in a food truck, the entrepreneurs will open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Kennewick’s Marineland Plaza, which is in the midst of renovations to update its look.
Owners Jimmy and Jenny Nguyen describe their menu as “Asian fusion street food.”
Their new restaurant will be housed in the space once occupied by smoothie and juice bar Fruitlandia.
The commercial-sized kitchen will allow the couple to expand their menu to offer items they had been unable to create in the limited confines of their mobile restaurant. This includes a katsu burger and their version of a Korean quesadilla.
The new menu items will build on what have already become popular mainstays with customers, including pineapple tacos, fusion burritos and a twist on a Philly cheese steak using bulgogi beef.
These unexpected food pairings have resulted in regular customers, who can rely on the food truck to visit the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory campus every Tuesday and the Amazon call center every Wednesday.
Other daily locations are announced on the truck’s Facebook page.
Fresh Out the Box is also participating in its third season of Food Truck Friday, the weekly event that’s taken root in downtown Pasco.
Jimmy Nguyen credits Food Truck Friday and the Pasco Specialty Kitchen with giving his business a kick start.
Food Truck Friday was the brainchild of Marilou Shea, director of the Pasco Specialty Kitchen, a commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs.
Nguyen said shortly after having their truck on the schedule for the first season of Food Truck Friday, Fresh Out the Box was booked for private events for the remainder of the year.
The opening of the new restaurant at 5215 W. Clearwater Ave. in Suite 102 isn’t expected to change the truck’s schedule or affect its catering business.
Jimmy Nguyen said the need for an established restaurant became even more urgent following an especially harsh winter.
Snow-covered roads created new challenges for the mobile restaurant that needs to be on the move and relies on customers to have that same ability.
Additionally, Jimmy Nguyen said it has long been a primary goal to offer their unique food in a location where people could bring their friends or family.
The walk-up window nature of a food truck hasn’t provided that opportunity.
Jimmy Nguyen called the Marineland Plaza location a “godsend.”
A fellow church member connected the Nguyens to the owners of Marineland Plaza and a deal was struck for the new location that offers seating for up to 40 people, and even a few tables to sit outdoors when the weather cooperates.
The new location is located between Marla June’s Clothing and the Hair Chateau.
The Nguyens are working on remodeling the space and plan to add up to six employees in the process.
The new location will be open weekdays, and possibly Saturdays, but closed Sundays.
The owners hope that by August, they will have completed the bigger “box” they intend to fit into.
For more information, call 509-627-9311, or find them on Facebook.
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