Our story started back in 2011, in a 1974 Chevy step-van-turned-tiny-streetside-kitchen. Lizzie & her brother opened the truck to serve poutine– a dish they had treasured growing up. On their family’s summer trips to their cottage in Canada, Lizzie’s dad always made time to stop by a little road-side poutine-stand. And that’s where it all started.
From that first little truck, they served only two items: poutine & fresh ginger soda.
In those days, Lizzie spent a lot of time serving plain fries while introducing the people of Rochester to poutine. Then named, Le Petit Poutine, it was Rochester’s first food truck when a national food truck trend was just starting to move from large cities inland to the rest of the US.
Business slowly began to grow. Lizzie found opportunities to get in front of crowds and spread the word of poutine at Rochester’s famous Saturday Public Market, late night at Lux and even at the Rochester International Jazz Fest. With the popularity of poutine growing, and no one else serving it – things really picked up speed. When Liz’s brother left the business that first summer to focus on his growing family, Lizzie went at it alone, juggling her existing job and all the new opportunities that were cropping up.
Enter Ronnie. The two had met in college and become fast friends. Now roommates, Ronnie watched as Lizzie’s efforts paid off and proudly spread the word around town every time someone asked “Oh yea, you’re friends with the poutine-truck girl, aren’t you?”
But Lizzie could only handle so much on her own! Ronnie started working on the truck, training on how to use the equipment and learning to drive stick shift so that Lizzie could say yes to more opportunities. When Lizzie asked her to come onboard as a business partner, it only made sense.
By 2012, more and more food truck entrepreneurs were appearing around town. Even more were stopping by the truck during service to get information on how to start a food truck and where to sell. But Rochester wasn’t ready for a wave of new food trucks. The city and other local governments made it impossible for food truckers to conduct business. With nowhere to sell their food and the number of trucks growing all the time, Lizzie and Ronnie took on a new job – lobbying for food truck regulations. They formed the Rochester Food Truck Alliance to band together and get vending laws and regulations passed into city ordinances. [PIC]
During this time, Le Petit Poutine’s business was growing constantly. The gals took on more events and learned how to prepare for bigger and hungrier crowds. They expanded the menu, brought on staff and bought their first fully customized truck- Beau! Two years later, they added their second truck Beulah, organized countless events for local food trucks and filled the calendar to the gills. Le Petit Poutine was in full effect.
As the business grew, Lizzie and Ronnie realized they wanted to find a place for a brick and mortar restaurant. The search was slow, and interrupted by the busy truck schedule. After a few years of planning, searching and budgeting – they found the perfect location.
Stop by our brick and mortar at 44 Elton St. to see for yourself!
LPP opens at the public market & introduces Rochester to poutine! Lizzie gives away poutine to folks willing to try this “weird” dish instead of ordering plain fries.
D&C publishes article about LPP and Snow Daze, the first look at street food in ROC
Three other food trucks arrive in Rochester. Trucks begin to face competition from food cart vendors and some restaurants. Ronnie joins Lizzie on the trucks.
City newspaper makes “Best Food Truck” category, and LPP wins! Rochester Food Truck Alliance is born to lobby for food truck laws in Rochester.
Food Truck Alliance petitions the City of Rochester for food truck vending law. Food Truck Pilot Program begins in June, allowing trucks to vend legally.
LPP adds more events, works to fill out lunch schedule including stops downtown and at the Art Gallery
Food Truck Alliance contacts the Institute for Justice to help with our struggle with changing food truck laws
Debut our new truck Beau. Major upgrade!
City of Rochester passes permanent food truck ordinance
Our first employees!
Truck breaks down, engine replaced.
We welcome our second truck, Beulah!
We won our 10th City Newspaper Best Food Truck Award
Brick and mortar opens!