Do you find the summer weather too hot to even fire up a grille? And what about those mornings when you’re just too rushed to pack a lunch?
With food trucks quite the rage across the country, Northford can claim a food vending service of its own. With its yellow-and-white striped awning and checkered trim, Dave’s Café is open for lunch at the on Middletown Avenue.
It is owned and operated by David Barber, who has lived in Northford for 27 years.
Having retired from SNET where he had worked as an outside network engineer, Barber decided it was time to be his own boss. He came across an ad for a truck—this a purpose-built vehicle equipped for food service–in the Bargain News.
He completed his training as a food handler at the Omni Hotel in New Haven to learn the food safety and storage practices that are key to serving wholesome food. He licenses his food vending service through the East Shore Health District.
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“I like it,” said Barber, when asked how it felt to be his own boss. “I already know that the boss is sometimes foolish so I don’t worry about it.”
Barber first took the truck, where he prepares the food, to Branford Point in Branford. Five years ago, he moved the van to its current location in Northford.
The menu is summer fare—hamburgers and cheeseburgers, which Barber grills to order, hot dogs and also grilled cheese sandwiches. In addition, Dave’s Café provides snacks such as chips and also desserts including cookies and ice cream.
At one time, Barber added vegan options to his menu, but he could not find sufficient vegan business to continue to offer the products that are free of animal products. Gatorade and water are now the healthy options he offers.
“I used to set up down at the garden center,” said Barber, referring to in North Branford, where, at one time, he operated his café on weekends. “We would get requests for vegan burgers. We would get them and try to use them, but no one ever ordered it.”
Typically, his business comes from the traffic on Middletown Avenue. There, some who visit the Café are repeat customers that, according to his wife, “make it a point to stop when they are in the area.”
To stock his truck, Barber shops locally on, he said, an “as-needed” basis. He begins preparations for each business day at 9 a.m. At the end of his business day, however, Barber turns over the culinary activities to his wife.
“Dave is a whiz with Entenmann's and take-out, but that is usually it. Too funny!” exclaimed his wife.
Dave’s Café is open Monday through Friday, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May 1 to Sept. 30.