Rat Race Phillies serves up authenic Phillies in just a few minutes - fast enough for dashing out at lunch to grab a bite. Despite being fast, everything is fresh. We talk to owners Frankie and Millie to find out more.
1. Tell us about Rat Race Phillies
It’s a food truck run by the two of us. We sell authentic Philly sandwiches made from fresh, thinly shaved eye of round steak that’s cooked to order in about 2 minutes. These are the sandwiches you’d find if you went to Philadelphia. Besides the shaved steak, we use Amoroso rolls which are flash frozen and sent to us from Philadelphia. We stuff the rolls with meat, onions, sweet peppers, and mushrooms as an option. Then we top it all off with Cheez Whiz.
2. What makes a Philly authentic?
It’s the freshly shaved eye of round, which is sliced rare then cooked. The Amoroso roll is also important, which is why we bring them in from Philadelphia. The rolls are cooked in a hearth, not a pan, which means that each roll is slightly different, with it’s own slightly unique shape. Then there’s the Cheez Whiz! The onion and sweet peppers are important too, but the other ingredients are the key.
3. Can you tell us about your Steak and Chicken Bowls?
They include the same ingredients as our Phillies but served on a bed of french fries and without a bun.
4. Do you just do Philly’s?
We also have our Bowls, french fries, and a quarter pound hot dog. We can dress the hot dog up with the onions, peppers and cheese, just like a Philly.
5. Do you offer catering?
Yes, from the truck. If someone wants us to come out and make Philly’s and hot dogs, we’d love to help them out.
6. Why did you decide on a Philly food truck?
Our truck is pretty small and we needed our kitchen to be efficient so we could quickly prepare and cook fresh food in a tight space. Philly’s were a perfect fit and when we started we hadn’t seen anyone else doing authentic Philly sandwiches.
7. Where did the name of your food truck come from?
At lunch people just don’t have time to go out to a restaurant. A lot of people only have 30 minutes or so to eat. Because we can serve up lunch so fast, the whole idea of the name seemed like a perfect fit.
8. Can you tell us a little more about your truck?
It’s quite small. We can get it into a single parking space! Another way it’s unique is that we’re the first green truck - the kitchen is fully powered by marine batteries. We plug the batteries in at night to charge and they also charge from the truck engine when it’s on. Because of the batteries we don’t need a generator.
The truck was painted by my tattoo artist, Mac Bibby, from Shrunkin Head Tattoo here in Jacksonville.
9. How did you get into the food truck business?
We already had a Mister Softee gourmet ice cream food truck before Rat Race Phillies.
Millie: I’m originally from New York and I grew up eating Mister Softee gourmet soft serve ice cream out of a food truck. When I moved to Jacksonville about 12 years ago I saw that there were no soft serve ice cream trucks - there were a lot of frozen ice cream trucks but I didn’t feel comfortable taking my kids to those trucks. They didn’t look right, and to me, it wasn’t real ice cream. I decided to buy a Mister Softee franchise and bring it to Jacksonville. There are a lot of Northerners here and when they find out there’s a Mister Softee they respond with the same love for the ice cream that I had growing up. We have a lot of followers. It’s my baby, and it’s still out there today.
Frankie: I’ve been cooking for many years. I worked my way up from managing a salad bar at a restaurant in Jax Beach to running the kitchen at the Sneakers Sports Grill when it was on Atlantic and then later in Jax Beach. I’ve lived in Jacksonville since 1986 but spent some time in New York where there are a lot of food trucks. Being immersed in that food truck culture really got me thinking. I really love cooking and wanted to be able to cook and work for myself, so the food truck seemed like a perfect fit. I’ve made a lot of money for other people and I though it was time to make something for myself!
A food truck is a lot of work, but you get to be your own boss and set your own hours. It also feels really good when someone tells you how much they like what you’re serving.