ELYRIA, Ohio — For Greg Kobunski, the restaurant business has become a whole new ball game.
Until recently, Kobunski had been food and beverage director for the Lake Erie Crushers at Avon since 2016. But in September, after the season ended, he and his wife, Stephanie Bacskay, attended a concert and had a revelation that results in their food-truck business, bRaised in the CLE.
“We sat there and we were in line,” he said. “We finally ordered, then we waited again. I said, ‘My God, what’s going on.’ “
He thought, “There has to be a better way to do this, for big events, to make food trucks faster.”
So, he says, he “tried to create a truck that by the time you finish ordering, you get your food. We’ll put you in line, we’ll get you in and out.
It’s similar in size to the kitchen he used at the ballpark. The truck will accommodate a 36-inch grill and oven, as well as a small countertop fryer that can hold 30 pounds, as well as a full-size fridge and freezer and other kitchen equipment.
He also made sure the truck would be fitted with a ‘super quiet’ generator in case it couldn’t hook up to electricity, so it wouldn’t overload the sounds of a concert or other event. .
“It’s born and bred, it’s braised, that’s what it’s all about,” Kobunski said.
“This whole food truck is about family, hard work, community and bringing people together,” said Kobunski, who said the truck will be based at the couple’s home in Elyria, but will be moving east. east, west and south to Akron.
“Nothing is smoked on it,” he said. “I think that concept is oversaturated right now. I wanted to do something that reminds me of home when I was a kid. This Sunday comfort food concept is a hit.
Many restaurants that focus on braising base the concept on short ribs, often one of the best dishes on a menu, he said.
“I wanted to take these kinds of dishes and do them on a food truck and do them quickly and cheaply,” said Kobunski, who previously worked at Johnny’s Downtown, John Palmer’s in Chardon and Cibreo in Playhouse Square.
The truck must be finished by Tuesday, May 24. His health inspection is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8. And the target launch date is Saturday, June 11.
“I wanted to focus on this brand of braising, baking things in the oven, slowly and at low heat for hours,” he said.
Expect Apple-Honey Glazed Pork braised for eight hours in apple juice with a blend of Herbes de Provence and a light BBQ marinade that yields “unbelievable” sweetness.
Kobunski also makes pork nachos, something that happened a bit by chance.
He had made them at the stadium in 2017. One day, his assistant’s father was celebrating his birthday and asked Kobunski to make them.
“It just so happened that Major League Baseball on Fox was at the stadium that day,” Kobunski said. “They ended up taking the nachos and saying, ‘Wow, that’s the best pork I’ve ever had. “
Eleven main courses and five or six side dishes as well as special dishes will be featured on the protein-rich menu, he said.
Sandwiches, pancakes, bowls and some salads will be offered. The sandwiches will include chicken lightly braised with Korean spices and another version with assorted seasonings. And he won’t skimp on the bread either. He uses Orlando Baking Co. to make ciabatta.
“It’s a big sandwich,” he said.
While the concept began to come true in September, Kobunski said he’s had the name since 2008.
“I wanted to do this for a very long time,” he said.
The truck’s logo and wrap will include tributes to his father, mother and stepmother.
“The pipe stove (in the logo) that creates the ‘b’ – one of the things was that he (Kobunski’s dad) was a real hardworking Clevelander. He’s retired now. He had a real man cave in the garage. I used to go there, and he had this pipe stove to keep the garage warm when he was doing his construction projects. He had a little radio, and we listened to the Indian games. Eventually we put a TV in there and we sat there and once in a while I could have a beer there and we cooked hot dogs on the stove.
Bacskay, a 20-year veteran of the Ohio Army National Guard, divides his time between his job at Cleveland VA and programming food-truck concerts, Kobunski said.
Later, he hopes to turn it into a quick service restaurant, but he wanted to start with the truck only. The pair lined up appearances at a Farmers Market in Sheffield, a LaGrange IGA food truck rally, the Duct Tape Festival in Avon and the Tri-C JazzFest in Cleveland.
“It was an amazing journey,” he said.
I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. WTAM-1100’s Bill Wills and I usually talk food and drink at 8:20 Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.
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