Mobile food trucks and trailers are becoming more common in Haines. Over the summer residents enjoyed quick bites from places like Julian’s Tacos, Peterson’s Pretzels and Geno’s. As those trucks close up for the winter, Camino has rolled up to offer a warm meal during the cold season.
Vija Pelekis and Susie McCartney are cleaning up their 1973 Chevrolet step van after the lunch rush. On the outside, it is painted a golden orange color with a window for ordering. On the inside, it looks like a small industrial kitchen. Peleksi says none of that equipment was there when she first bought it in Washington.
“Darren Shields built the whole thing. Like this was stripped down. He installed all the appliances, built the countertops himself and even the vent hood.”
She says her first exposure to the food industry was through her father. She never thought she would follow in his footsteps, but after working on a farm in Washington she thought that a food truck would be a fun way to connect people with great local ingredients.
“It feels like there’s a little more flexibility, you’re not tied to a certain menu necessarily. Also, you can physically move it, so it kind of has this great more open-ended gypsy feel to it.”
Pelekis says at some point she would love to take her food truck on the road, but right now she is sticking to Haines.
Susie McCartney says this week Camino has been serving grilled cheese and soup for lunch.
“Our breads are from Ester Gunick and Gunick’s bakery,” McCarney says. “We use the sourdough and our secret is we used butter and our secret ingredient… I don’t know if we should say it.”
McCartney is working with Pelekis to get Camino up and running. She has been cooking for a living for a long time. She says she was drawn to Vija’s passion for local ingredients.
She is excited to try out cooking different cuisines in the food truck.
“And this is a really great opportunity offseason to really work out the kinks and operate sort of as a test kitchen to not only see what people like, but see what we can do out of a little truck.”
Camino will be serving lunch this week from noon to 2 p.m. at the Old Field Kitchen in the Fort Seward parade grounds.