Rush Hour: Staff Meal Food Truck Slings Over 100 Tacos a Day

A glimpse into the busy lunch service at the unconventional food truck.

In Rush Hour, food blogger/photographer Brian Samuels hangs out at local eateries while they’re at their busiest — and finds out how they perform under pressure.

The Staff Meal truck at the Chinatown Park space. Scroll to the end for the truck’s schedule through May 1. All photos by Brian Samuels.

For our first edition of Rush Hour, I visited Staff Meal, the unconventional food truck manned by Adam Gendreau and Patrick Gilmartin, during lunch service at their space in Chinatown Park (one of their many Boston locations). The afternoon began with a rocky start; there were some issues getting gas for the truck, which delayed their arrival to the space. Despite this slight hiccup, the duo looked perfectly in control while prepping and serving their popular tacos, which come will fillings like shrimp and foie gras, house-made chorizo, and Chinese sausage with fried rice. As Gendreau prepared trios of tacos at his station, Gilmartin took down customers’ orders. After gathering two or three, Gilmartin would quickly maneuver his way around Gendreau to package chips and guacamole for other customers still awaiting the arrival of their food.

For the next couple of hours, they danced around each other like this. Under such tight and stressful conditions, there is the potential for tension — but thanks to the two’s restaurant backgrounds, they’ve figured out a (relatively) stress-free modus operandi. “We’ve relied on our restaurant kitchen backgrounds in order to build systems so that we can fly food out,” Gendreau says. “So far, we think they work pretty well.” Ahead, check out the team in action.

Gilmartin (left) and Gendreau take their places in the truck: Gilmartin takes orders, while Gendreau works the grill.

During the lunch rush, the line never seems to die down. Luckily, though, Gendreau says that they haven’t yet had to deal with any nightmare customers. “All our customers are pretty easy going,” he says.

Gendreau prepares up one of Staff Meal’s signature tacos, filled with “truck-made” chorizo, lime crema, radishes, and lettuce. He says that it’s the truck’s top-selling taco.

Gilmartin stays calm despite the lunch rush.

Multitasking is what it’s all about. After he’s taken a few orders, Gilmartin takes a turn at the grill.

Gendreau chops some Chinese sausage for Asian-inspired tacos stuffed with the sausage, fried rice, black bean mayo, and fried garlic. In the tub on the far right are fried chicken skin “chips,” which can be ordered in lieu of the typical corn variety.

To get the food out in a timely manner, Gilmartin moves in to help Gendreau with finishing up an order.

Final touches are added to the tacos. Gendreau says that during a typical lunch service, the truck sells between 100 and 150 tacos.

Left: From the top, a corned beef taco, plus the Chinese sausage and chorizo tacos. Right: a finished chorizo taco. Selections rotate often, and Gendreau says that the most difficult taco to execute is one featuring duck tongues, prepared General Tso’s-style. “Such a huge pain in the balls picking all the bones out of every single tongue,” he says.

A finished trio of tacos, packed up and ready to go.

Gilmartin hands a customer his finished order. Gendreau says that it takes between three and five minutes from when the order comes in to when the food is ready.

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