Friday | April 17, 2015
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Grinds on the go

A new food truck, promising “a love affair with locally grown food,” has joined West Hawaii’s culinary scene.

Rolling tasty breakfast and lunch wraps, The Rendezvous began roaming the island’s roads roughly three months ago. It has been fueling a lot of interest, excitement and, of course, hungry patrons.

The food truck is owned and operated by Krystal Sentz, Natalie Muensterman and Heather Thompson Carvalho. However, their significant others are very much a part of the entire process, Sentz said. These couples, friends, foodies and business partners are maintaining their current full-time and part-time jobs while passionately running The Rendezvous at least three days a week at regular haunts.

Together, they have further satisfied some patrons’ taste for roadside food. They have also opened other people’s eyes to the possibility of eating great tasting, locally sourced, healthy food out of a truck at a price deemed “approachable.”

The idea for The Rendezvous derived from the couples’ travels and watching the boom of the modern food truck movement. There was need for a healthy alternative, which could help make local food even more available and could cultivate community, Sentz said.

“We believe that eating local is eating healthy. Not only in nurturing your body, and supporting it with a healthy and delicious option, but also in creating a strong dependency on, and celebration of, our community,” she said. “Instead of just talking about it, we decided to take a risk, and just go for it.”

Roughly 700 hours was spent transforming a 21-passenger bus into a food truck, and the owners hope to install solar panels by the beginning of next year. It took about six months and numerous tastings to create the menu. Along the way, the couples got endless help, support, guidance and encouragement from other local small businesses, entrepreneurs, family and friends, Sentz said.

The benefits of a mobile business are plenty, such as a lower overhead than launching a brick and mortar restaurant, the ability to move around, a singular focus on food, and a chance to share a socially conscious message or embrace your entrepreneurial spirit, Sentz said.

“A rendezvous is a meeting place, a gathering place, a cause to bring people together at a chosen place and time. Because we’re mobile, our location may change, but our heart remains the same,” according to its website. “We use only fresh ingredients and source local, organic ingredients where we are able, making our wraps full of flavor, life and above all, love!”

Approximately 80 percent of its ingredients are from Hawaii and most things, including sauces, are made from scratch. The menu may change to reflect what’s fresh, in season and available, Sentz said.

Culinary offerings include The Earth Mama wrap with roasted kabocha squash, quinoa, black beans, kale, sage ricotta cheese and squash seed pesto for $9; The Plantation wrap with beer-braised pork, jalapeno cole slaw, feta cheese and pineapple barbecue sauce for $9; The Samurai wrap with furikake seared catch of the day, brown rice, avocado, onion, cabbage and garlic wasabi crema at market price; and Charli’s special wrap with scrambled eggs, potato, bacon, tomato, cheddar cheese and lilikoi hollandaise sauce for $8. Also available is a kids menu, with four items, including peanut butter amd banana, costing $3. For those wanting something extra with their wrap, try a gourmet musubi, mud pie sandwich or the fruit spritzer of the day. At $12.50, customers can get a combo (a wrap, side and a drink).

It isn’t just the food that’s reeling in the customers. Good deeds are also capturing attention. On the first Friday of every month, The Rendezvous selects a charity to benefit and a percentage of the tips received that month is donated to that group. Also the food truck will attend an event hosted by the charity, sell food and donate a portion of its proceeds garnered that day. Habitat for Humanity of West Hawaii’s Blitz Build was the charity for September, and the Donkey Mill Art Center’s school garden program will benefit from The Rendezvous in November. Suggestions for other local charities to give back to are always welcome, Sentz said.

The Rendezvous can typically be found from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays in the Old Kona Industrial Area, makai of Island Naturals; from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays in Kainaliu; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of Storage Kings, across from the Costco entrance. Every other Thursday, the food truck is stationed from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Kona Trans parking lot. It also participates in special events, such as the Kohala Country Fair on Oct. 6 in Kapaau and the Ironman Village Expo from Oct. 2 to 5 at Hale Halawai in Kailua-Kona, Sentz said.

To view the latest schedule and menu, visit therendezvoushawaii.com. For more information about The Rendezvous, call 895-6767 or email info@therendezvoushawaii.com.