Meals on wheels
By: Mary Stanley, September 29, 2011
Rebecca Forster - Heidi Pleso's Fiddlestix trolley cart offers up 'grub on a stick' at a roadside or festival near you.
A new eatery has rolled into town.
Touting itself as "gourmet grub on a stick," a mobile lunch trolley called Fiddlestix debuted its menu in August down at Town Neck Beach by the Sandwich Boardwalk.
Owner and operator Heidi Pleso said the business represents a natural progression in her career.
"I have worked the front of restaurants and the back of restaurants. Now, I'm working both simultaneously," she said.
Pleso said she tried to select items that would appeal to all of her customers. "It's pick your stick and then pick your style," she said.
The Fiddlestix menu includes grilled chicken, shrimp or steak served on a stick with a choice of Caesar salad or teriyaki rice; or the same meat or shellfish served Cajun-style on a flatbread. One of her biggest sellers is the fried macaroni and cheese— and yes, it's served on a stick. Pleso also offers falafel, vegetable gyoza (dumplings) and hamburgers. Try the raspberry pie and chocolate-dipped baby bananas to satisfy your sweet tooth; they're small, so you might need more than one!
But what you will never find on the menu are hot dogs.
"I just refuse to serve hot dogs," she said. "Let the hot dog people serve those."
A foodie schtick
Pleso said when she considered starting this business, she knew she would have to come up with a menu that would be uniquely her own.
"You have to have some kind of niche when dealing with food," she said.
She drew her inspiration from the "food on a stick" fad that is popular in Japan.
"I've always loved it. My food is based on that, with an American twist," she said.
In addition to her niche menu items, Pleso said the ingredients she uses are fresh and, whenever possible, locally grown at Crow Farm.
And any of the sauces that accompany her offerings, such as the spicy mayo or salad dressings, are her own creation.
"Please don't ask me for the recipe. I don't write anything down," said the traveling chef.
Migrating down 6A
Once the trolley was delivered from Arkansas in August, Pleso installed the cooking equipment. With all of her permits in place, she hitched a trailer to her vehicle and headed down to Town Neck Beach, where she began offering something that has been missing from that venue for far too long—a concession stand where beachgoers could purchase lunch.
Pleso has found, however, that she was not overwhelmingly busy at that spot this summer.
"We made enough to break even," she said, noting that many residents and visitors are already in the habit of bringing their coolers to the beach.
"After a hundred years of not having a lunch option there, it will take some time for people to get used to it," she said.
When school began in September and visitors to the beaches dwindled, Pleso moved her trolley to the parking lot at Sandwich Mini-Golf on Route 6A.
With a family who worked in the catering industry, Pleso grew up surrounded by food and cooking. Working in the restaurant business, she said, was almost a foregone conclusion.
Besides selling lunches from her Route 6A location during the week, Pleso takes her trolley on the road on weekends, setting up her restaurant on wheels at various festivals and at private functions, where she is hired to cater.
The response she has received to this business has been very positive. Fiddlestix is popular at festivals, and can be found this weekend at the Harvest Fest at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds.