When they first met, Catie was already seriously talking about buying a truck. Shoshanna’s job was travel-heavy, and she was ready for a change. At the start of 2013, they were ready to make their dream a reality. Columbus’ emerging truck scene and Catie’s more than a decade-long experience in food in the area made Columbus the ideal destination. They started with a broad idea: they wanted to offer sandwiches. Over the holidays, Shoshanna received a Jewish cookbook as a Hanukkah gift, and a theme was born. While looking through the book, she realized how much she loved Jewish food and that there was a real void of such offerings in Columbus. Knowing their direction toward Jewish comfort foods made their menu better and focused. Combining their strengths – Catie’s knowledge of farm-to-table food, and Shoshanna’s knowledge of Jewish foods – Shoshanna says, “We were equally invested.”
Catie and Shoshanna spent six months planning, raising money, working on the menu and holding tasting parties in New York. By spring 2013, they relocated to Ohio and the truck officially opened for business on June 30. Their menu offerings include fares such as seasonal French toasts, smoked salmon chowder, and a whitefish sandwich topped with pickled beets and a potato latke! The menu aims to stay within the boundaries of “kosher style;” the only violation lies within the crispy chicken sandwich, where the chicken is soaked in buttermilk (violating the mixing of meat in dairy).
They also work hard to have a predominantly woman-operated truck. “It wasn’t planned that way,” Shoshanna explains, “but it worked out that way. It’s mostly queer women, with good camaraderie … it’s pretty unusual to see to an all-woman crew in a pretty male-dominated scene.”
Photos | Amy Tannenbaum
At the opening, they were extremely busy and serving more than 200 people lined up around the block. Exhausted after a hectic and busy first day - the truck looked like a bomb went off - Catie and Shoshanna sat down and celebrated with a shot of tequila. Catie turned to Shoshanna and said: “Well, babe, you moved to Columbus and opened the truck; there’s only one thing left to do. Wanna get married?”
(They both interject at this point in the story: “We’re romantic!”)
Shoshanna answered the proposal by requesting Catie to ask again, “not because I was unhappy, but because I wanted to hear it again.”
Looking ahead as they assess their menu this winter, explore the emerging catering side of their business and begin planning a wedding, Catie and Shoshanna have big dreams for the Challah Food Truck. They would love to expand their business to offer a food education resource center for children and develop a community garden partnership. “A restaurant would be the easy next step, but we want to do something community oriented,” Shoshanna explained.
“Our dream is pretty big, but the reality is putting one foot in front of the other, keeping this business afloat, and seeing where it takes us and what comes next.”