If you’ve spent any amount of time in the Bay Area in the past few years, there’s a good chance that you’ve been to an Off the Grid market and chowed down on a tasty, unique dish at least once. And if you’re lucky, you may have even attended a recent special event or function that was catered by one of our delicious vendors.

But what you may not know is that behind the scenes, there’s a lot that goes into growing each of these individual food truck concepts into successful, thriving businesses that can eventually service thousands of hungry mouths every week. Being a part of our vendors’ journeys from initial concepts into full-blown businesses is thrilling to watch. That’s likely because Off the Grid itself started from humble beginnings with the same entrepreneurial mindset. Nothing is better than seeing a once-rookie vendor “make it big” and open a brick and mortar location in addition to their mobile truck.

The Jeepney Guy’s world famous Lechon served with Jasmine Rice and Pickled Green Papaya

The moment a vendor joins the Off the Grid family, we support them by providing feedback from customers, sharing overall market trends and insights, and even offering mentoring if needed. We truly put effort into aiding in the business strategy of each one of our vendors – because we also have a vested interest in their overall growth. Not to mention, there’s no better place than Off the Grid for a newbie food truck to build a foundation of loyal fans and establish themselves financially.

In fact, three of our favorite Off the Grid vendors have become success stories themselves in recent years. Southern Comfort Kitchen, which serves the most authentic jambalaya this side of New Orleans, initially started as solely a mobile truck, and now has a permanent location in Castro Valley. Ask anyone where to get their hands on the best doughnut in town and they’ll likely point you to Johnny’s Doughnuts – now with multiple brick and mortar locations (and multiple trucks!) in the Bay Area. And everyone knows the Jeepney Guy, who’s highly sought after flavorful Filipino dishes are now being served at West Oakland’s newest community space and social hub, 7th West.

Southern Comfort Kitchen serves up the most authentic Cajun Cuisine this side of New Orleans

For many independent business owners, what they initially lack in experience, financial backing or reputation is made up for in hustle, passion and dedication. So while you’re out and about shopping over the next few weeks – particularly on Small Business Saturday – make sure to pay these awesome locations a visit and treat yourself to something delicious. Or even better, if you’re hosting a large gathering of coworkers, friends or family, we encourage you to support these unique small businesses that make our community so great. While the 2018 Off the Grid markets season is behind us, you don’t have to wait for spring to come around again – nearly all of our vendors hustle year-round to make a living and are ready roll up (quite literally!) to any location and cater the same tasty dishes at your special event.