Jansen Gollar and Gary Clinton admit that “it made us nervous” the first time they saw the color of their new new food truck; it’s somewhere between a keylime pie and the inside of an avocado. Along with a distinctive logo, and a catchy slogan (Bread, Greatness, Bread), it’s pretty hard to ignore the Fare & SQ Sandwich Company.
You may have seen them selling their handmade, freshly grilled greatness at any number of places around town. They hang out at the Nachbar on Sunday nights and sling sandwiches while Sqeezbot plays a weekly summertime set. They end up at Apocalypse Brewworks some Friday nights, when they aren’t at the Tim Faulkner Gallery for First Friday frivolity. They don’t have a set schedule yet, but between Facebook, Twitter, and that bright green whip, it’s not hard to find them.
You can spot the truck from a block or two away, which is handy as you don’t always know exactly where it’s going to be. (Editor’s note: Fare & SQ have signed up with the Where the Trucks At iPhone app, which we profiled last Friday.) Neither do Jansen and Gary, they show up, look for a parking spot, and feed the meter, just like everybody else. Jansen says that “parking is key.” Often on weekday afternoons Fare & Sq will set up somewhere around U of L Hospital, catering to the many doctors and nurses who need to get a bite quickly, but are tired of the same old fast food.
The menu has eight sandwiches and three sides. On a recent downtown lunchdate with the Mrs., we tried three of the sandwiches and two of the sides.
The Fare & SQ shares its name with the business, using turkey, apple, honey mustard and brie, all grilled on honey wheat bread. They were a little heavy handed with the mustard for our taste, but that small flaw was unable to take away from a delightful flavor combination.
The Piazza managed to combine mozzarella, tomato, and basil pesto in seemingly perfect amounts, grilled on sourdough. This is the taste I’ll be craving tomorrow about lunch time.
The orzo salad didn’t have a list of ingredients posted, which gave us the opportunity to play “guess the flavor.” We found orzo, red grapes, white corn, and red pepper. We may have missed some things, but searching was a tasty experience.
The fruit salad was a serviceable, fresh mix. It was content to let the flavors of the fruits speak for themselves, but after the orzo and the sandwiches we were expecting something a little more surprising.
We were slowing down by the time we got to the sandwhich we had picked for desert, the SQ One. Consisting of almond butter, honey and apple on honey wheat, it was certainly a sweet way to end the meal. The almond butter could have easily dominated, but the the strong taste of the honey and the sharp tang of the apples held their own and brought balance to each bite.
All said, it was a delightful meal. The general price point is a couple of bucks more than a comparably-sized fast food meal, but it is well worth the expense. There is also the option to order a half sandwich for those who are eating on a slimmer budget.
With such a slick ride, a well designed menu and signage, and tasty fare, it’s surprising to hear that Jansen and Gary are both newcomers to the restaurant trade.
Jansen worked in management in the hospital supply business for nine years, till he was laid off. He says he did his best but everyone could always tell he “wasn’t a corporate guy. It just wasn’t a good fit.”
Gary worked for forty years in quality control before retiring. For a while he spitballed ideas about a food truck with his daughter Kenzie, (who is married to Jansen) but not much came of it. When Jansen was laid off, he and Gary seized the moment.
“It was a whirlwind,” says Jansen.
They bought a beat up ’79 Dodge Truck on Craigslist in March and made their first sale outside the Nachbar on May 26.
When asked about how they got going so smoothly and so quickly, Jansen and Gary give all the praise to their friends.
Kenzie Gollar, (Jansen’s wife; Gary’s daughter, and fourth grade teacher at King Elementary) is credited with the slogan and most of the menu. Gary’s brother Paul painted the truck, and the design for the menu and the logo came from son/brother in law Corey Clinton, who designs full-time in LA. Jansen also stops to make sure he thanks his parents, Penny and Sonny, for moral support.
It’s almost impossible to get them to take any applause for themselves. Jansen, the more loquacious member of the duo says “We may be the ones selling the sandwiches, but we owe the credit to the people who helped us get here, the family and friends who helped us make this a reality.”
Gary says it with fewer words: “This is a family business.”
Follow them on twitter @fare_sq, or keep updated by friending them; facebook.com/faresqsandwich.