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Noon: Tickets continue to pile in. Customers wait for their orders while checking iPhones and scoping out nearby picnic tables.
12:15 p.m.: The lunch shift is in full swing — and so is the sun. Inside the truck the fryer bubbles, the flat top sizzles, and the steam table steams. Unsolicited beads of sweat begin to accumulate on the foreheads of Eanes' crew and customers alike. "Hot enough?" Hammond asks as he assembles several sandwiches at once. "You should come and stand next to the grill. Whoo!"
12:47 p.m.: The rush begins to subside. Eanes and company begin to make a list of ingredients they'll need for the dinner shift, as well as for tomorrow's lunch. An intense song by Sevendust bellows from the speakers. Eanes hurries over to hit the next button. "Don't want to scare 'em off," he says, laughing, as Tool replaces the scream-o.
Eanes excuses himself for a smoke break. He returns with a heaping portion of bangers and mash from the truck next door. "Want some?" he asks. Hammond and Holloway nod and Eanes divides lunch into three equal portions.
1:15 p.m.: It's a pleasant 70 degrees outside but still about a zillion inside the truck. The saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." In this case, it's more like, "If you can't take the heat, too bad, you shouldn't have bought a food truck."
1:20 p.m.: With lunch service coming to a close, it's time to clean. "The good thing about a truck is that when it's time to go, you shut the doors and go," Eanes says. Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" comes on and, almost as if on cue, Hammond and Holloway bust into an impromptu Michael Jackson dance sesh.
2:15 p.m.: "We did about 60 people," Eanes says. After he finishes counting the money and taking care of the books, it's time to roll. "We've got to stop by Restaurant Depot for macaroni, red wine vinegar, and stuff," he says.
2:30 p.m.:"You're gonna like it in there," Hammond assures me as we approach the entrance to Restaurant Depot. "It's cold." Being inside Restaurant Depot is like being inside a refrigerator the size of a warehouse — a warehouse where everyone knows your name. Several other food truckers are shopping. Everyone's busy toting flatbed carts through the aisles, restocking and replenishing, but not too busy to chitchat and say hello.
3:45 p.m.: Back in Cabbagetown, the truck is unloaded. Dishes are washed in the certified catering kitchen that was once a spare bedroom. The truck's battery is plugged in to an outdoor outlet to recharge.
4-4:45 p.m.: Finally, a break. For Hammond, the day is done. His girlfriend stops by to pick him up. Eanes and Holloway relax at a picnic table in the backyard.
5 p.m.: It's time to start loading up and head out for dinner. Trays of hand-cut fries wrapped in plastic are stacked five-high on the truck's counter. The tower sways, rights itself, and sways again as the truck weaves through Cabbagetown. Kids wave as the truck drives by. The evening site is near Cabbagetown Park at Sweet Cheats cupcake and dessert shop.
5:30 p.m.: "Yumbii is usually here with us," says Eanes as the setup process begins again. "But they're doing a private event tonight. We're gonna get crushed."
6:15 p.m.: Families gather at the park with kids in tow — lots of kids in tow. Up-beat reggae spills out through the truck's speakers. Eight people suddenly appear at the service window. The line stays that deep for nearly an hour. A chicken finger basket and grilled cheese sandwich with fries have been added to the menu in anticipation of all the kids — there's at least one for every adult.
6:30 p.m.: It's chaos inside the MIX'd UP food truck, but you wouldn't know it from the outside. Interactions with customers are calm and friendly. Parents chat about their children's shenanigans and recent school events. Behind the scenes, however, Eanes and Holloway are in the midst of a kitchen crash.
6:34 p.m.: Eanes' wife shows up after she gets off work. She hops in the truck and takes over the order taking. At this point, they're so backed up with tickets, they have to stop taking orders for five minutes to catch up. Exasperated but in good spirits, Eanes yells, "This is the madness that happens when there's only one truck. We get crushed!"
7:45 p.m.: As dusk settles in, the truck's interior lights come on. Illuminated from within, the truck takes on the appearance of a miniature diner in the twilight. Most everyone seems to be fed. The orders slow down for the first time in more than an hour.
8 p.m.: Even after a long double, Eanes wastes no time in starting his prep list for tomorrow, another double. "We cut fries every day," he says. "We stay one case [of potatoes] ahead at all times. Our fries are the shit."
9 p.m.: The MIX'd UP food truck is cranked for the last time of the day.
9:05 p.m.: After another short rumble back through Cabbagetown, the truck is home. "We did 98 people at dinner!" says Eanes as he tidies up the prep counter. "We always shoot for selling $1,000. We did it today." The grill is scraped and beers are cracked. It's all in a day's work.
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