NEWTON — Fans of traditional British pub fare have a new dining destination in Newton. Though its wares are peddled infrequently, On the Hook food truck has started making regular stops in Newton (last Friday being its most recent) to sell one thing and one thing only — fish and chips.
Headquartered in Laramie, Wyo., the food truck business was started by two University of Wyoming students in 2016 and its fleet quickly expanded — establishing warehouses in Utah, Colorado and Waverly, Neb. It is out of the last warehouse that the truck that stops in Newton originates. A recent expansion made that possible, and truck manager Tyler Wisner said the decision was made to branch out the business even more.
"They decided, since we have another truck, let's go out and explore Kansas; see what we can do out there," Wisner said.
Business expanded into Kansas back in October. So far, the truck has set up regular routes that have taken it through Overland Park, Manhattan, Salina, Wichita and Newton, among other cities.
Upon its second stop in Newton, where the truck sold 220 meals prior to its dinner rush on Friday, Wisner said it would "absolutely" be coming back. Once the truck establishes a presence in a community, it becomes part of the truck's regular routine — and the truck's presence in Kansas has been well-received so far, encouraging those return visits.
"We hit a spot every probably three to five weeks, depending on the place," Wisner said. "I've seen days where we get maybe 60 or 70 customers and days like (Thursday) where we had over 200. It just depends on where you are. Kansas has been really busy for us; granted, we are new here, still exploring and figuring everything out."
So, what's the proverbial hook?
On the Hook specializes in fish and chips — with one of the owner's fathers operating a fishing boat out of Seattle that travels the Alaskan coast monthly to help stock up the fleet of food trucks. While On the Hook has its own original recipe beer batter and signature dipping sauces (like sriracha mayo) to serve with its meals, the fish is the main attraction and what Wisner believes is the real draw — especially in Kansas.
"I feel like, for being in the Midwest, people don't get really good quality fish. All of our fish is line-caught, cold water-caught straight from Alaska. It's really good quality fish and most of the places around here aren't going to have anything close to it," Wisner said. "Sure, you're going to find it at a restaurant once in a while, but I'm fairly sure, personally, that our quality is better than 90 to 95 percent of the stuff you're going to find in the Midwest. It's just an experience. You don't expect to get something like this from a food truck, so when it comes around it's like, 'Why not try it?'"
For more information on the food truck and its rotating schedule, visit onthehookfishandchips.com.