Peru’s Shoppers Value Foods went out of business months ago, but on Thursdays, its old parking lot is busy. Customers line up at a small white truck primarily for one thing: tenderloins.
Schleppy’s Loins, a pork tenderloin food truck based in Peru, just started its second year in the former Shoppers Value parking lot and business is going steady, cook Dustin Marks said.
For some, it’s the breading that’s so special.
“The different spices, they don’t taste like your traditional tenderloin,” customer Paul Hayes said.
Others like combination of crunch and juiciness the tenderloins have.
Cindy Schleppenbach, the owner of Schleppy’s, has always made good tenderloins according to her husband, and they talked about having a food truck for years.
They decided to start a business in April 2018 after coming across a food truck for sale.
“We saw this one on the side of the road for dirt cheap and we decided to buy it and paint it and fix it up and put windows in it because it didn’t have no windows and we just gave it a shot,” Schleppenbach said.
The truck is open only on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch and from 4 to 8 p.m. for dinner due to Schleppenbach’s busy schedule. She is a mother of five children and a t-ball coach, among other responsibilities.
But word of mouth and a strong social media presence has spread the news of the food truck and customers come from as far away as Wabash, Kokomo and Logansport, Schleppenbach said.
“I love doing it,” Schleppenbach said. ‘We’ve had a great response to it.”
The tenderloins are bought locally and are handbreaded the day they’re served and never frozen, Marks said. He said the recipe for the breading is Schleppenbach’s secret and even he doesn’t know the ingredients.
Schleppy’s also has various sides, depending on the day, including French fries, chips, breaded mushrooms and mozzarella sticks.
Before starting to work for Schleppy’s, which is owned by his cousin, Marks was a cook at restaurant. He said working at a food truck has been less stressful because of the smaller menu and the more personal nature a food truck brings compared to a traditional restaurant.
“I like meeting all the different people, talking to them, seeing how their day is going and seeing the smile on their face after they’re done enjoying everything,” Marks said.
Marks said he likes the portable nature of the food truck because they can easily serve food at benefits and fairs.
The popularity of food trucks has been evident to Marks over the past few years as a cook in the restaurant business. He thinks it’s the novelty of them that draw people.
“People don’t like change but if it’s the right change, they do like it,” Marks said.