Roland Feldman of Smoke BBQ is dedicated to helping Stefan DeArmon become well known for his cornbread, which started as a kitchen accident and has become a signature item that he's been selling at Second Sundays on King Street.
Feldman has partnered with DeArmon, whom he dubbed The Rev. Cornbread, to buy and brand a food truck. They're also planning to package and sell a cornbread mix, ultimately creating a company that fuels a charity that helps recovering addicts. Feldman sees them starting a recovery community called The Reverend's House.
"We need to start small and stay focused," says Feldman, almost as a reminder to not get ahead of himself as he rattles off dreams and plans for the Rev. Cornbread company.
The first step was purchasing a food truck, which they got from Shuai and Corrie Wang of Short Grain.
"Roland came out to visit it a few weeks back, thought it would be perfect for slinging their delicious cornbread, and then promptly talked us down to half price, the sum of their budget," says Corrie Wang.
While they considered keeping the truck for nostalgia's sake, Wang says they decided it was better to let it go. "We love the idea that it is off to do more big things," she says. "It has been so good to us in our first endeavor that we couldn't resist passing along some of that good karma to help Stefan jumpstart his business."
Feldman says he lucked out getting such a discounted rate from the Wangs, but they told him, "We believe in dreams coming true."
Like Short Grain, Smoke BBQ started as a food truck, and Feldman has grown it to two brick-and-mortar locations.
He feels like the Rev. Cornbread can see the same sort of success. Currently, the truck is being rebranded and DeArmon and Feldman are finalizing a menu. "It will be like Glass Onion meets S&S Cafeteria," says Feldman. Expect pulled pork, smoked chicken, collards and slaw all served with a healthy-sized square of "golden brown, delicious cornbread."
They have plans to park it downtown in a lot near the Market, but those plans are still being finalized. Feldman didn't want to curse them by saying an opening date aloud, but he expects it the food truck to be up and running in June.