Food Truck Frenzy

Clea Senneville of Beet StrEAT

The business: Beet StrEAT

What they're packin':
Fresh, hearty dishes created with no meat or meat-based products; almost everything can also be ordered vegan. Order a mozzarella sandwich with tomatoes and basil pesto; juicy salads with quinoa, kale or, of course, beets; and sides like veggies and jalapeno-yogurt dip, or even ancho chile- spiked lentil tacos.

What you need to know: Don't expect your average veggie burger. Using locally-sourced fruits and veggies as much as possible, Clea Senneville and her partner Jason Edwards have created a flavorful, budget-friendly menu with a "comfort food" approach: cue "sloppy joes" with sweet and spicy lentils, vegan burgers from Buddha Burger in Cottonwood, and quesadillas with sautéed spinach and onions.

The story: Both Clea and Jason have a passion for making simple, wholesome food affordable and accessible to people, and the food truck business was a "big leap." They liked that a mobile food business is not only convenient, but can bring about an event almost anywhere. "Once you have food and drinks," says Clea, "you have a community of people."

Read more about Beet StrEAT after the jump.

Where'd you get the name?
CS: It was between Turn-up Truck and Beet StrEAT, which came about because were just doing a play on the word "beat," like with music, but also because beets are easy to grow in Arizona. And our truck is purple.

Do either of you have a formal culinary background?
CS: No, but my degree is in social and environmental justice, and food is only thing I've ever really cared about: cooking, eating, and sharing it. I also come from a family that emphasized healthy food. Jason, who has a strong business background, has different tastes and helps me think of things that have broader appeal. 

Have you run into any issues with permits getting your operation off the ground?

CS: It's frustrating, let's just put it that way. Because every site needs a special permit, it takes time and money. I just got elected to the board for the Phoenix Food Coalition, though, and I'm excited about being more tied in to our organization and the relationship it has with the health department.

Do you get people who are a little skeptical of the cart?
CS: Oh, yeah. People either walk up thinking we're a roach coach or won't because that's what they think it is. But we've had people who think it's a typical food truck with hamburgers and hot dogs and they're the most fun to serve; to show them that it's just food and it's good. In the end, a lot of us food truck people just want to share something that we enjoy ourselves.

With hopes of expanding to farmers' markets and other locales, the truck ("Beeter") has been involved in recent special events like the Scottsdale Arts Festival, and you can find them from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every third Thursday at the Whole Foods on Raintree in Scottsdale.

Stay updated via the Beet StrEAT website; like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

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Hannah Hayes

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