There’s not a lot of rules about food trucks.
And as long as the food is fast, fresh, and the service is friendly, Del and Dian Kiff hope their customers keep coming back for more fun at their new Harrisonville mobile business.
The man behind the Del’s Dashboard Deli, a mobile lunch spot for a meal on the go around the community, is a 57-year-old Harrisonville resident looking to jumpstart his retirement dreams of opening a sit-down eatery.
The couple opened the deli food truck Oct. 22, 2012.
Detailed with black-and-white-checkered floors and curtains, the couple’s brightly red-painted bread truck used to transport Dolly Madison cupcakes.
“The truck was involved in the food business before we were,” Del Kiff said.
The truck now serves an array of food items - including paninis, cold sandwiches and wraps, hot dogs, seasonal soups, stuffed baked potatoes and tacos.
Detailed with a 1957 Chevy in its logo, the truck frequently parks at Mill Walk Mall on Mondays and next to the Courthouse on Tuesdays ready for lunch patrons.
“We like the old diner style - that old retro look and music. We’re going to continue to play with that theme on the truck and the food,” Del Kiff said.
The truck also frequents private businesses during peak meal times during other times of the week.
While the menu choices fluctuates some with the weather, one of the regular signature staples of the Del’s Dashboard menu is the homemade reuben sandwich - made with freshly sliced corned beef topped with cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing between two lightly toasted slices of marbled rye bread.
A favorite for someone a hurry, Dian Kiff, 51, said, is a trio of tacos, topped with a homemade blend of pico de gallo salsa.
“We try to make as many ingredients as we can fresh,” Del Kiff said. “We kind of take a lot of cues from the food truck movement up in Kansas City. They’re really leading that movement in the region.”
The menu also includes hot dogs with of host of toppings - from chili to sauerkraut - or a plain dog with the choice of a standard dress of mustard or ketchup if that is what tickles your fancy.
“I think what we bring to Harrisonville is the idea of bring a fresh, quality product. It’s gotta be right, it’s gotta be hot, and it’s gotta be fresh,” Del Kiff said. “On the back of the truck it says ‘We are driven to be fresh.’”
In operating a food truck, the couple must adhere to all Cass County Health Department regulations that apply to food establishments.
In operating the business, Dian Kiff is the self-proclaimed chef while her husband greets customers and helps take and deliver orders.
The duo is also capable of offering call-ahead and delivery services, office catering and being onsite for special events and festivals.
“We used to go to the Food Truck Fridays in Kansas City. We got to know a few of the owners up there, kind of on an impersonal basis, but we would look for the trucks and follow them on Twitter. It’s kind of been a fascination,” Del Kiff said. “The fact that the trucks have become more than just your hamburger or hotdog fair food - they’ve really become rolling gourmet truck. All of that has really peaked our interest. We both really love to cook and I think we just wanted to strike out and do something along those lines.”
Del Kiff said he bought the truck on a whim two years ago.
Both he and his wife have worked in the corporate world for a while, but each have spent time in the culinary industry in years past.
“This is something we’ve always wanted to get back to,” Del Kiff said. “We like being able to manage and do our own thing. And I love to talk to people.”
Del Kiff has worked for Sprint for more than a decade, and is hoping to retire within the next five years.
The couple currently does food preparation and stores products at a commercial kitchen in Harrisonville, in which they hope to hope to turn into either a deli or cafe storefront in the future.
They would also like to bring something such as a “Food Truck Friday” to Harrisonville in which other area food vendors could set up shop together in a spot once a week.
“In communities like Harrisonville, it’s common for people to socialize, so this is kind of a social aspect would be for people to get out and walk around and try things,” Dian Kiff said.
In addition to working full time and running the business, Del Kiff also finds it important to invest in area communities through his time, and is looking to assist an area school district with its summer feeding program.
“It’s always been hope to give back to the community in some way. One of the problems that they had was transportation and getting kids to the feeding sites. What they’ve done in the northeast is use food trucks to take the food to a location closer to the families,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being involved in fundraising and charities.”
While only having been in business for three months, the Kiffs said the response has been encouraging.
“We’re both good cooks and we believe in our product, ourselves, and we believe in Harrisonville. Everywhere I drive with the truck, everybody waves. I don’t know many people in Harrisonville, yet everyone waves. I feel encouraged, and I think I am supported by the community,” Del Kiff said. “My main thing is to have fun with this. Make it fun - make it interesting and to be apart of the Harrisonville community. That’s real important for us.”
To follow Del’s Dashboard Deli using social media, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dashboarddeli, or on Twitter using the handle “DashboardDeli.”