Story: Karsten Miranda | 30th April 2017, 05:11 Hrs
As Antojitos, the popular gourmet food truck completes a year, the two founders Steve Dias and Elvis Victor, talk about how the idea came about, their choice of cuisine and the journey rnthus far
In 2012, two Goan boys who were working overseas, stumbled on an idea that revolved around giving something back to Goa, a taste of what they had seen and learned.
“The atmosphere and the aromas around street food vendors abroad is simply delightful and amazing,” said Steve Dias, who has worked in managerial roles at star hotels in UK and Africa. Elvis was working on a cruise liner along the Caribbean Islands and Mexico routes and was inspired by their cuisine and ‘way of life’, and found a deep connection with Goan cuisine, that also has sharp spice flavors.
“When we first met we toyed around with the idea of starting up a place in Panaji about five years ago. Fast forward three years to 2015 and we decided to put the wheels to this dream in motion,” said Elvis.
Between Elvis’s love for exploring and experimenting with new flavors, and Steve’s experience in launching various outlets in the hospitality sector in Goa and Mumbai, they decided to work together and develop this ‘food truck’ idea.
“Because it gave us the freedom to go wherever possible and serve up the same amazing food with no compromise sounded super appealing at the time,” Steve said.
A couple of months of hunting for a vehicle they finally settled for a Tata 407 and that’s where the joyride began. They were both actively involved in the fabrication of design and construction of the truck and the kitchen inside and would spend days in workshops across Goa.
Finally, in May 2016, Antojitos ( pronounced as Antohitos), which means little cravings in Spanish, came to life. “We started with an idea, a pen and paper, two enthusiasts, a shared passion and voila – Antojitos was born. We believe that if you have a vision or a dream, do not let anything or anyone stand in your way to achieve it,” Steve added while recalling the excitement at the time of their launch.
Their menu was carefully crafted by Elvis so as to optimize the usage of the space in the truck. They chose Tex Mex cuisine on seeing a gap in the market. Their burgers, ‘hot-dogs’ and steaks are well received and a clear favourite followed by the nachos, tacos and quesadillas. They also do desserts too.
“The quality of the food that we offer is second to none and we spend quality time at the butchers, our vendors and markets sourcing our ingredients. Our constant need to innovate with food using the freshest and local ingredients makes way for our weekend specials which are announced through our various digital platforms,” said Steve.
The Antojito’s crew members have hospitality, culinary, communications and creative skills, gained through years of travel and work. “We’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the best entities in the industry worldwide,” said Elvis.
What’s more, they even try and keep the experience as green as possible with solar panels that are their source of energy and almost all their cutlery is biodegradable.
After their soft launch at the 2016 carnival in Panaji, they have been sighted regularly at events across Goa from a stall at the Arpora Saturday Night Market to community building events like Bandstand at Jardim Garcia de Orta, the Panaji Carnival, the Rain Forest Challenge, Tharfest, and Margao Tinto. When they are not at these events, they can be found at the Taleigao bypass road where there is ample parking and great community seating. As May approaches, they will complete one year since they fully launched. When asked where they see themselves in May 2018, one year from now, they add that they have plans to open more outlets and move into franchising.
“The journey has been an awesome one with its own share of ups and downs. But that’s not going to stop us serving up ‘street treats’ and has only given us the appetite to go out there and feed as many people as possible with our amazing food. We owe our success to our families, friends, patrons and our team for their unconditional support,” said Elvis.