N.New Jersey is a leader in producing many fruits and vegetables thanks to nearly 10,000 farms in the state. Now his one hood his truck, especially in Mercer County, is on a mission to boost local farmers.one of best new jersey food trucksMama Dude’s bases most of its menu on local NJ produce.
In 2016, shortly after graduating from college, Hamilton Township native Andrew Dudich bought his first food truck. The name Mama Dude’s honors his late mother, a talented chef and inspiration for Andrew’s cuisine. When it comes to food, the truck offers its own styled menu of bases, proteins, toppings and sauces. I see you often.
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Mama Dude’s uses only ingredients from NJ farmers and the menu changes seasonally. In addition to two trucks, Andrew has a physical store near the Yardville section of Hamilton Township. To learn more about his culinary journey as a young entrepreneur, visit best of new jersey I spoke with Andrew.
Best of NJ Interview: Mama Dude’s
Best of NJ: What were you doing before Mama Dude?
Andrew Dudick: I was in college. When I graduated from Johnson & Wales (University), I returned home and started a pop-up dinner company called The Spring Chicken. We did the 6 course tasting menu in different parts of New Jersey. A fire station, elk, or anywhere you can actually have a kitchen. It’s all farm-to-table, grown organically, and found its first food truck.
BONJ: Speaking of which, what made you decide to start a food truck?
Andrew: While driving home from a friend’s house, I saw a food truck for sale in a guy’s driveway and thought it would be a nice way to spend five years. Bought the first truck and he used it for 2 years before buying another truck. His first two years were haphazard. A lot of festivals, wineries, and we learned that it wasn’t our forte.
The food truck also runs two farmers markets, Bodentown and West Windsor. We are in West Windsor Market where he has been for 3 years and Bordentown is his 2nd year this year. The seasonal menu is just four items and always features items from market vendors. All dates, times and locations are listed on our website.
BONJ: Tell us about your cooking experience.
Andrew: In high school, I attended the Mercer County Vo Tech culinary program. He then completed his BA from Johnson & Wales. While there, I worked in Boston and the New England area. Then when her mother passed away, I went home and spent time with her family. However, there weren’t many fine dining restaurants in the area.
BONJ: Where did the name Mama Dude’s come from?
Andrew: My last name is Dudich. My mother passed away in 2015 when I was her senior year at Johnson & Wales. Her plan before she died was to work in a fine dining restaurant in Boston or New York. That’s what I wanted to do and what my entire degree was focused on. Then her older brother was a freshman in high school when she died. So I came back and hung out for a bit. And that led me to buy a food truck.
BONJ: Have you ever wanted to open your own restaurant?
Andrew: No, the plan was to work under someone who knew more than I did at the time. I could cook; but what these chefs see is bubbles and powders and molecular gastronomy. . Food Network and choppedThat’s probably where I ended up. I was planning to go to England to cook and travel there. Plans have changed a lot, but there’s a reason for everything.
BONJ: How is your truck menu different from a restaurant menu?
Andrew: Contact four or five farms nearby. Ask them what they use and what they overeat. That’s how the menu is made. Seasonal items are on the menu. For example, I texted a farmer the other day asking what he had. He said he “got a lot of beets,” so he’ll probably put beets on the menu. He has a lot of parsnips, so those will last. Everything is homemade from the sauce to the toppings. So I wouldn’t say “homemade” because it’s all homemade.
BONJ: Will popular items ever return to the menu?
Andrew: If the season matches, yes [laughs]A good example is burning carrots in the winter. I’m not doing anything crazy here. Honest food, clean. They’ll be back because carrots are back in season. But I like to change things up and be creative when I can.
BONJ: What is it like to own a business in the town where you grew up?
Andrew: that’s a good question [laughs]It definitely helped me at first. We signed a lease for the location two days before it closed last year. And it opened in December 2020, if I remember, like mid-pandemic. We received a lot of support from friends and family. As much as I like to think the food is exceptional, I think every restaurant needs an immediate boost to be successful. We are fine now and have fewer family and friends.
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Top (Hero) Photo: © Mama Dude’s / Javier Aguiar
Story Photo: Patrick Lombardi / Best of NJ