ROCKLAND — ‘Wich Please, a sassy, comfort food sandwich truck will soon be rolling up to Rockland.
On Nov. 18, with fewer than three days to go in his crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign, local food blogger Malcolm Bedell blew through a $25,000 goal to fund his food truck project. The campaign ended on Nov. 21 with $29,457 raised, just shy of their $30,000 stretch goal.
Funded by 401 backers, many of them from Maine, the project has built-in local enthusiasm. Bedell, who grew up in Tenants Harbor, said on his Kickstarter page, “I want to bring an obsessive level of detail to sandwich making, and sling the finished product out of the side of a trailer in a small-but-happening town in Midcoast Maine.” That “happening” town he referred to will be Rockland. According to the campaign they’ve got two spots secured around Main Street for the summer.
What can foodies expect?
Not just sandwiches. Incredible sandwiches, baked on fresh, crusty bread and filled with braised meats and locally-produced cheeses. Highbrow sandwiches made with garlic-roasted asparagus and quick-pickled onions in the summer. Lowbrow sandwiches packed with homemade lamb chili and cheese in the winter.
Within a matter of days of its launch, ‘Wich Please became a Kickstarter staff favorite. Combined with coverage by statewide press, interviews with Food Truck Empire and FoodTruckr, as well as a massive push by Mainers, Bedell’s baby was fast on its way to becoming a viral sensation.They’re currently the seventh-most-funded food truck campaign in Kickstarter history.
With an obsessive love of Maine’s local food scene, Bedell and his wife, Jillian, created a blog, From Away, writing about such oddball comfort foods as Frito Pie Grilled Cheese. The blog got some serious notice and Bedell has gotten offers to write and take photos for Bon Appetit, Down East Magazine, The Guardian, Serious Eats, Food & Wine, and L.A. Weekly, as well as appearances on NBC's Today Show and WCSH6's 207. From that success, they got a book deal with Tilbury House in Thomaston, and recently published Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town and On the Road.
Not content to sit on his laurels and wait for the campaign to end, Bedell was just in Las Vegas this week competing for $100,000 in the "Sandwich" category of the World Food Championships. The invite-only event was open to chefs who have competed in and won a qualifying contest sometime earlier in the year, which Bedell was able to do for the second year in a row. They had to cook in the middle of the street on an induction burner and Bedell found it challenging, which he chronicles on his Kickstarter page.
For luck, he wore a ‘Wich Please T-shirt, illustrated in Ed Roth/Rat Fink hot rod style by Seth Mathiau, artist and owner of Atlantic Studios in Rockland.
No doubt the lines will be long when ‘Wich Please first starts to slap some sammies together. Rockland is waiting for you.
Related page: Gourmet Food Trucks in The Midcoast
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org