Food Trucks

Hammer & Tong Goes On the Road

By Stephen A Russell
5th Aug 2014

Simon Ward, co-owner and chef of Brunswick Street Fitzroy's Hammer and Tong 412 alongside business partner Dennis Ferreira, are big fans of Melbourne's burgeoning food truck scene. They've been following the phenomenon with fascination since first encountering it in the US, particularly on the vibrant streets of LA.

With the celebrated Fitzroy outfit trucking along nicely, Ward and Ferriera decided they wanted to make their own mark on the market that includes the well-loved likes of the Taco Truck, Beat Box and Mr Burger, and are launching the Hammer & Tong food truck this month.

"We're bringing our expertise to the food truck scene, trying to give it an extra boost," Ward says. "Our whole concept is 'why can't chefs cook exactly the same way they do in their restaurant when they're in food trucks?' We actually want the Hammer and Tong truck to be a mobile kitchen."

Ward likens the idea to a fine dining restaurant catering for a wedding or birthday party. "Beyond the four walls of their restaurant, they'd still have to provide the same quality of food," he says. "There are more and more food festivals popping up, like Taste and the Noodle Market, and people expect restaurants standards, whether it's under a marquee or out of a food truck."

That's not to say the offering at the Hammer and Tong food truck will be a carbon copy of the bricks and mortar outpost. "It will be a bit simplified, but still to the same high standards," Ward says. Regulars to the Brunswick Street mothership will be glad to know that their famed soft shell crab burger is present and correct and there will also be a lobster roll on a charcoaled brioche.

The truck will hit the streets from Monday 18th August, with the plan being to cover all corners of the city, from both sides of the great Yarra divide, north and south, to the east and west. While they're still locking down exact locations and times, the lads are hoping to pull up at Southbank's Testing Grounds, as well as Northcote's Kitty Somerset and The Racoon Club nearby in Preston.

"We'll also be at the Spring Racing Carnival, the Night Noodle Market and the Royal Melbourne Show," Ward says, looking forward to spring and summer's return. "Yarraville Gardens is one of the most well known food truck spots and we won't be shy of going down there, but we're on the search for new sites, too. We don't want to just join the crowd."

There are also plans afoot for a permanent Hammer & Tong truck stop early next year, and Ward promises you'll see both Ferriera and himself out and about on the road. "If there's one thing we do at Hammer and Tong, we don't just set something up and walk away from it. That's the most positive thing about having a business partner and a strong team who've been with us almost from day one; we can all share the responsibility, so there's no doubt you'll see Dennis and myself on the trucks from time to time."

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