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Keep Truckin'

How a Restaurant on Wheels Keeps People Coming Back

Article by Brady Stewart

Photography by Flourish Branding Photography | Al Milligan

Originally published in Castle Rock City Lifestyle

The first thing you notice is the line of people. The second thing (if you’re lucky enough) is the tempting smell of fried food. We're talking about On The Hook, a food truck specializing in fish and chips. Listen, we know what you’re thinking, we aren’t on the coast, and we aren’t in the UK, but trust us, it’s just what you’ve been looking for. After that first, hot, salty, crispy bite, you'll be hooked (pardon the pun).

On The Hook was started by two friends and former University of Wyoming students, Hunter Andersen and Ocean Andrew, in 2016. Andrew’s father captains a commercial fishing boat in Alaska specializing in catching Alaskan grey cod. While still in school the two friends had the idea to bring hot and fresh fish and chips to people via a food truck. They had a source of fresh fish, they had a recipe, and they had a truck. It was an instant success. Subscribing to the school of thought of doing only one or two things, but doing them extremely well, the partners gained quite a following. From that one humble truck they started with four years ago, to their current fleet of 11 trucks, 65 employees, and servicing 9 states, their eyes have always been on serving quality food and serving their community. Northern Colorado has been a big part of their success story. Finding a natural fit setting up shop at the local breweries, they began to build a loyal following. After all, fried food and beer are a match made in heaven. The growing company started out offering fried shrimp and calamari as well as their signature cod, but later shifted solely to the cod stating that it’s what the people want. Although, it’s not only about this fish, it’s also the chips (or thick cut fries to us Americans). Oh, and did we mention the condiments? Owner, Hunter Andersen, said the food he’s most proud of is actually what you dip their fish and chips into- their signature sriracha mayo and special recipe tartar sauce. All teamed up, the fish, chips, and sauces definitely pack a satisfying punch.

During the current Covid-19 crisis, food truck businesses like On The Hook have been impacted and have had to make adjustments. Andersen explains, “when this all first started, we took a few days off to strategize and get a plan in place so we could continue to operate. We basically decided we would follow the CDC’s guidelines and get the trucks back out there.” On The Hook requires their employees to wear masks and gloves, sanitize all surfaces frequently, and ask all patrons to social distance while waiting. They also shifted to allowing only credit card payments and no cash. Luckily, being a food truck and not a brick and mortar outlet, this worked as an advantage as all their business is essentially a takeaway service by nature. When asked what the response by customers has been during this challenging time, Andersen said it has been very positive. “Our motivation behind serving during this time was to provide a beacon and an outlet for people to be able to be out and go outside. We wanted to provide a sense of normalcy.” Looking towards the future, On The Hook is looking to expand while keeping the same simple, yet high quality food. Both owners say they are most passionate about being able to provide high quality jobs as they grow. You can find out your best chance to catch this food truck in the area by checking their website for where they will be. Just a word of caution though, one bite and you might be hooked!

“Our motivation behind serving during this time was to provide a beacon and an outlet for people to be able to be out and go outside. We wanted to provide a sense of normalcy.”

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