Haute Wheels is the latest addition to Little Rock's street food boom. When the pharmaceutical company Nancy Dyer represented downsized, she saw it as an opportunity to start her own company. She debuted Haute Wheels, a food truck equipped with a smoker, fryer and griddle, last week, at the first Food Truck Friday. At the moment, Haute Wheels features smoked meat sandwiches and salads.
Dyer is a veteran of the Little Rock restaurant scene, although she's spent virtually of her time at the front of the house. Waiting tables put her through a science program at University of Arkansas Little Rock, which was a substitution for what she really wanted to study — nutrition. She calls cooking a long-time passion. "I come from one of those weird families where my mom had a hot meal on the table every night, Monday through Thursday," she said.
She purchased a truck (formerly Mel's Mobile BBQ) and worked with the folks at Rock City Wraps on a design. "I wanted something inked up, tattoo-style, that would be eye catching and playful," she said, after sheepishly admitted that the name for Haute Wheels was inspired by the TV show Chelsea Lately and Chelsea's brother's Haute Mess Catering. Dyer's eleven year old niece suggested the name, which worked with the So-Cal, hot-rod design Dyer envisioned for the truck's exterior.
Coming up with the menu was a little tougher. Dyer plans to switch things around seasonally, although Haute Wheels is still so nebulous that there could be quicker changes in the short term. She plans to always have at least one veggie and one gluten-free option and build around a loose hot-and-cold theme — "hot (as in spicy) entrees, cool sides," she explained. "I'd like to keep things light in the summer, and add soups and heavy meals in the winter. I'd also like to use more local grillers and butchers and keep things very fresh. Basically, I just want to feed others the way I'd feed them in my own home." One side of the truck has "Like Water for Chocolate" painted on it, paying homage to a book Dyer has found inspirational as her relationship with cooking has deepened and expanded over the years.
Look for Haute Wheels at the food truck court at Asher and University and at West Little Rock's Arkansas Skatium. Hours and days will vary, so check facebook for updates and locations.