Welcome to the ‘Hood: Frites ‘n’ Meats

frites-n-meats1-by-asha-agnish-for-tribeca-citizenWhen I asked V.P. (at left in photo), one of the owners of the new Frites ‘n’ Meats truck parked at Greenwich and Chambers, why he and his partner, A.V., wanted to remain anonymous, he said something about how the world has become full of villainous non-burger eaters, and they preferred the focus to be on their mascot, a superhero bull named FM.

“Uh, OK,” I said, momentarily distracted by the idea of a bovine mascot for a company selling beef. But then I realized that what he said was pretty absurd. He looked like he could handle a little banter, so I said, with skepticism, “You’re worried you’re going to come to harm?”

“That’s right,” he said, smiling. “No, not really.”

frites-n-meats2-by-asha-agnish-for-tribeca-citizenfrites-n-meats3-by-tribeca-citizen“So can I say that you’re the owners of Paradou?” When I had emailed to request an interview, the reply came from a Paradou address, which I knew was a restaurant in the Meatpacking District.

“You can say whatever you want!”

That’s the spirit! Before Paradou, V.P. was in marketing and advertising—“the only real restaurant experience I had was eating.” He and A.V. have launched a burger truck because they saw an opportunity—not just to feed hungry students from BMCC and Stuyvesant, but to feed students all over the country. If this one works, they’ll duplicate it in college towns. When I suggested that the truck was a low-investment way to branch out, he bristled. “It’s a substantial investment,” he said. He and A.V. bought the truck and then designed it themselves. “Quick and on the go! That’s what people like these days!”


All non-burger photos by Asha Agnish for Tribeca Citizen

He used to live in Battery Park City and now lives in the Financial District, so he knew he wanted to be downtown (“I’m lazy”), but getting a food-truck permit is a complex process, and “the location found us.” Which isn’t to say he’s not thrilled. “I’ve always thought that a lot of people with an educated palate live around here, and there’s nowhere to eat.” I involuntarily raised my eyebrows at how that might sound to local restaurateurs, especially coming from a guy in a burger truck. “I admit, burger and fries may not be the height of cuisine, but we’re using DeBragga beef, Murray’s cheese, buns from Balthazar Bakery. Just because you’re doing premium ingredients doesn’t mean you have to rape your customers.”

Why did you decide to do burgers?

“Burgers are hot right now! There’s nothing more American than burgers and fries!”

“But you’re doing Belgian frites!”

“No, we’re doing fries.”

“That’s not what the menu says! Or your name! And when you put a tiny plastic fork in a paper cone of fries and a dollop of mayo on top, they’re frites.” (This is something I consider myself an expert on.)

“We don’t do mayo. We do aioli.”

“And that’s Italian!”

“No, it’s French.”

Argh. He was right, so I conceded the argument. Besides, he had moved on to dessert, explaining that his wife, Lena, makes the desserts (that day’s was an apple-and-Asian-pear cake.) “We try to keep it healthy,” said V.P. “Fresh fruit, no additives.”

Speaking of additives: Has anyone from the McDonald’s across the street come by yet? “Our Angus is different from their Angus,” he said, shaking his head.

Frites ‘n’ Meats is on Greenwich, near Chambers, weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; check Twitter (fritesnmeats) for exact location, though it’s hard to miss the big yellow truck. For more information, and a look at the menu, see fritesnmeats.com.

Non-burger photographs by Asha Agnish.


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