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Food Chain DC, Coite Manuel's Rental Kitchen Space at 4414 Georgia Avenue in Petworth - Closed


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I pass a food cart on M Street on my drive in, and have wondered about it but always forget to look into it. It looks a normal hot dog cart with a sign on the side that says "Jerk Chicken Wraps" and "FoodChain DC."

Interesting concept, and I'm surprised I haven't seen anything written about it on here yet.

http://www.foodchaindc.com/
 

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Chances are you have seen the street vending carts around D.C., especially if you work downtown. Most vendors carry pretty similar stuff: hotdogs, chips, candy, and soda. But start taking a closer look. If you see a hot dog vendor with our signs up, something entirely different is going on. Our business is called Food Chain and we partner with D.C.'s hard-working street vendors to offer an entirely different street food experience. We look for simple, quality food concepts that are made with higher quality ingredients yet cheaper than most downtown D.C. lunch spots. We can offer this quality/price combination because we don't have to pay downtown D.C. rents and we don't have to carry full-service restaurant overhead. And our commitment to food safety is intense, so you can enjoy your meal with confidence. When you need a quick, simple lunch or snack, look for our sign. And if there's not one, but there is a hot dog vendor, tell them about us! Hopefully we'll be there soon. For more information on our business, menu suggestions, general suggestions, wardrobe suggestions, becoming a vendor, etc., contact us at coite@foodchaindc.com. Also, if you're in to this kind of thing, follow us on twitter at twitter.com/foodchaindc.

]We're piloting our concept with jerk chicken wraps filled with coconut rice, citrus black beans, and a mango salsa. Check us out at one of the following locations:

  • M Street NW between Connecticut and 17th
  • 14th & New York Ave NW
  • 17th & I NW (directly in front of the Farragut West metro station)]
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I pass a food cart on M Street on my drive in, and have wondered about it but always forget to look into it. It looks a normal hot dog cart with a sign on the side that says "Jerk Chicken Wraps" and "FoodChain DC."

I've been keeping quiet about this one for a while knowing that I'd been working on a story. I really enjoy the burritos, and Coite has done a pretty nice job though like he mentions the carts are pretty hard to recognize. http://dcist.com/2009/09/a_food_chain_unlike_any_other.php

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Went to the cart at 14th and New York Ave. today. Got two jerk chicken tacos, one with smoke sauce and one with fire sauce. Not bad. The smoke sauced one was better because I could taste all the individual components. Biggest complaint was some of beans in each taco were still on the hard side. But for $5 for the two (plus .50 for a bananannanna) definitely a good addition to the lunch options at a good price.

Cheers!

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I tried the cart at Capitol and E today and had one jerk chicken taco and one black bean taco. There were about 7-8 people in line ahead of me, but it moved pretty quickly. The tacos were decent and have a lot of filling for the price ($2.50). However, this is not necessarily good as the chicken taco was way too overstuffed and became a giant mess. The bean taco was a little soupy. Flavors were good and I liked the coconut shavings on the bean taco as well as the hot sauce. You can choose between hot and smoky sauce. All in all, it's a decent option, but considering that it's virtually outside Taqueria Nacionale, I don't know that I'll be going frequently.

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This might be IS my first post on the site. It's been a fun ride so far growing Food Chain to more and more hot dog carts across the city. As of July 22, 2010 we're at 7 carts and plan to launch several more in the coming weeks. Food Chain is my first foray into the food business and I've been learning a freaking ton. Having never been in the biz before, I didn't realize how tempting it can be to cut corners on the quality to try to make the business fly, but you really have to make quality a core principle or it goes out the door once things get crazy. At least that's my novice take on it, and what I'm staking the future of this whole venture on. Now if I can just get folks to look past the fading KOOL cigarette and Tropicana stickers ....

Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive along the way.

Coite Manuel

Owner, Food Chain

http://www.foodchaindc.com

twitter: @foodchaindc

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This might be IS my first post on the site. It's been a fun ride so far growing Food Chain to more and more hot dog carts across the city. As of July 22, 2010 we're at 7 carts and plan to launch several more in the coming weeks. Food Chain is my first foray into the food business and I've been learning a freaking ton. Having never been in the biz before, I didn't realize how tempting it can be to cut corners on the quality to try to make the business fly, but you really have to make quality a core principle or it goes out the door once things get crazy. At least that's my novice take on it, and what I'm staking the future of this whole venture on. Now if I can just get folks to look past the fading KOOL cigarette and Tropicana stickers ....

I tried out the 12th and E cart today after hearing about it on Twitter, so in that sense the marketing has been successful. The signage really could be better though. The "fading KOOL cigarette and Tropicana stickers" factor is definitely there to be overcome. I had a tough time convincing co-workers that there really was barbecue at the old candy and chips cart outside Au Bon Pain. The BBQ itself was decent and a welcome fast and cheap option in the neighborhood.

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I tried out the 12th and E cart today after hearing about it on Twitter, so in that sense the marketing has been successful. The signage really could be better though. The "fading KOOL cigarette and Tropicana stickers" factor is definitely there to be overcome. I had a tough time convincing co-workers that there really was barbecue at the old candy and chips cart outside Au Bon Pain. The BBQ itself was decent and a welcome fast and cheap option in the neighborhood.

OK, so I clearly approached the cart from the wrong side yesterday. There is a huge sign advertising Food Chain DC on the uphill side. Very visible indeed. Oops.

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Smokey goodness is what I'm eating right now. Magical sauce. One Mojo chicken taco for $2.25 beats a $4 slice of pizza any day. Chicken was moist and flavorful; just a dash of the smoke sauce elevates its flavor profile. You know how you go "whoooooooosh" (exhale) after some smoke. Well, this sauce will do that to ya.

The 10th and K St NW cart lady is very nice too. (Only tacos and wraps at this location.) Bonus.

Calling Mr. Coite: you might want to think about doing a mini-burrito with the soft taco tortilla (note - this is pre-packaged store type). Charge a little more than a single taco. A little bit of the beans + coconut rice + chicken (and optional cilantro) = winning combo. Mmm.

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Smokey goodness is what I'm eating right now. Magical sauce. One Mojo chicken taco for $2.25 beats a $4 slice of pizza any day. Chicken was moist and flavorful; just a dash of the smoke sauce elevates its flavor profile. You know how you go "whoooooooosh" (exhale) after some smoke. Well, this sauce will do that to ya.

The 10th and K St NW cart lady is very nice too. (Only tacos and wraps at this location.) Bonus.

Calling Mr. Coite: you might want to think about doing a mini-burrito with the soft taco tortilla (note - this is pre-packaged store type). Charge a little more than a single taco. A little bit of the beans + coconut rice + chicken (and optional cilantro) = winning combo. Mmm.

You're too kind, thank you. If you enjoy the tacos at 10th and K, be sure and enjoy them this week. Starting next week Hana (the vendor) is switching to BBQ sandwiches. Also smoky but in a different way...........the 10th and K spot is our slowest spot (kind of a strange corner actually), and we've had trouble making the wrap/taco concept work for her. She's a super nice lady though and wants to give it another go with a different food. Wish us luck!

-Coite

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You're too kind, thank you. If you enjoy the tacos at 10th and K, be sure and enjoy them this week. Starting next week Hana (the vendor) is switching to BBQ sandwiches. Also smoky but in a different way...........the 10th and K spot is our slowest spot (kind of a strange corner actually), and we've had trouble making the wrap/taco concept work for her. She's a super nice lady though and wants to give it another go with a different food. Wish us luck!

-Coite

Coite, could you please update us on what Food Chain DC is up to now? From what I've gleaned from your website, you're out of the food truck business (is this correct?), and are operating a shared kitchen space (something like Falls Church's Open Table) for small operations who can't afford a kitchen of their own. Are you out of the retail (i.e., direct-to-public) business altogether? If so, and if you're marketing to small operations, I'll try and help you with a well-placed tweet.

Thanks in advance if you could set us all straight. :)

Cheers,

Rocks

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Hey Don, it has been a while since I've logged on.  Sorry for the radio silence.  Unfortunately I had to shutter the cart venture in early 2011.  I was not able to do the volume that I needed to be viable as a wholesaler, but I've still been in contact with a lot of the vendors who I love dearly.  They are the reason that I got into this in the first place.  Actually some folks filmed some of my early days and are putting together a documentary called Dog Days.

I have since shifted the business to operating as a small commercial kitchen incubator in Petworth, which has been going really great.  I've been able to help several small food operations get their start, including Pleasant Pops and Capital Kambucha, by providing a commissary for their operations.  There are also a handful of food trucks, chefs, and bakers that use my space for their operations as well.  I plan to continue with this for the foreseeable future.  Details are on my website: definitely feel free to send folks my way.

We'll see what's next.  I've been tinkering a bit with fermented hot sauce, which is another passion of mine.  My real desire is to bust up the hot dog supply monopoly, but it is a difficult thing to do.

-Coite

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