In case you haven't heard already, I'm here to tell you some really excellent news: in just a few short weeks you could have a vegan hot dog cart peddling down your street! Stacey "Cakes" Duvic has a dream. It's called Wheely Good Hot Dogs, and we're all invited to be a part of it.
Stacey, a winner of NOiG's recent city-wide vegan scavenger hunt, went vegan in 2011 when weekly potlucks in Baton Rouge helped her realize that being vegan can be both easy and delicious. Now her aim is to bring her love of vegan cooking to the streets. "I have long wanted to have some kind of business of my own based on what I love to do most: cook!" says Stacey. "I feel like I have a decent knack for making delicious dishes, and I want something I'm passionate about to be how I make my money."
Noting the drawbacks of a brick-and-mortar storefront or food truck, Stacey realized that bike-based service was an ideal place to start. "I've been a fan of riding bikes since I knew they existed, and for some of the same reasons that I no longer eat meat, I wanted to rely more on environmentally-friendly transportation. This, coupled with the fact that a cargo bike can be outfitted to be a vending cart pretty easily, made me realize that a bicycle cart was the business for me to get my skin in the culinary game!"
But are hot dogs really exciting enough to draw a crowd? They are when Stacey is behind the wheel. She'll be offering store-bought "traditional" dogs with exciting dressings like Philly Cheese Steak and Muffaletta, alongside homemade gluten-free options including andouille, salami, and breakfast sausage-style dogs. There will even be a carrot hot dog!
Wheely Good is in its formative stages, with a Kickstarter campaign nearly at its goal and recipes being developed. Of course, the more rapidly full funding is reached, the quicker the business will come to fruition. Says Stacey, "If all goes according to plan, we will be open for business September 1st!"
As to the where, the cart will begin with routes uptown. "I have a couple of bar managers already interested in hosting my cart. Once business settles, I would like to have a second bike stationed in the Marigny / Bywater. We plan to be open Thursday and Friday evenings and all day on Saturdays." The cart will also be available for special events.
In her wildest dreams for the future, Stacey imagines "an army of vegan hot dog peddlers" in the streets of New Orleans. It's a beautiful dream to be sure! For now, I for one will be thrilled to see one more all-vegan business gracing the streets (and filling the bellies) of Nola this fall.
If you're interested in helping to get Wheely Good off the ground and Stacey on the road, check out her Kickstarter campaign. Minimum donation is just one dollar, and at the ten dollar level you start to get free hot dogs!