KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Crowds waited for over an hour last year outside Port Fonda's Air Stream. Now the food truck's success will be permanently parked in Westport.
"It's a very unique situation," admits a glowing Patrick Ryan, the chef that returned to his home town five years ago hoping to open a restaurant.
Wanting to open something all his own and quickly turned him to the idea of a food truck.
The lines and success that followed allowed his restaurant dream to finally come true. Not only that, but he gets an unusual bonus. People know and love his food and they are just about ready to bust down the doors of his soon-to-be-open restaurant to get it.
One look at the restaurant's Facebook page shows how many mouths he has left watering with his spin on gourmet Mexican street food.
"We have three thousand three hundred some odd followers before we even open the doors," laughed Ryan.
We caught a couple of wanna-be customers coming in, hoping the kitchen was already cooking.
The restaurant opened for cocktails and light appetizers Friday night. The kitchen won't roar to life until next week.
"It's gonna be packed," said Karissa Hernandez. "It is seriously gonna be packed. I'm gonna start texting people."
The local artist behind the Utilitarian Workshop designed the decor full of reclaimed barn wood, handmade tables and a feel you won't find anywhere else. Even the local designer behind Baldwin Denim provided staff uniforms.
From pork belly or beef tongue fajitas to sopas (hearty stews and soups Ryan describes as an entire meal in a bowl), Ryan knows his restaurant will stand out as beyond standard Mexican fare.
As the staff met and pumped each other up hours before the first customers walk through the doors, Ryan puts finishing touches on his dream.
"After being gone for so long, I wanted to come back and do something that would be taken seriously at every level," he said.