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'It's helping us survive': Businesses roll food trucks into neighborhoods to help stay afloat

From ice cream to pasta, businesses are using food trucks to help reach more customers while also making safety changes inside the vehicles to protect employees

Want fresh pasta or even a dish of ice cream?

Food trucks are helping many local restaurants reach more customers and keep business flowing as eat-in facilities are shut down and only-accepting take out orders.

Sarah's Creamery is accepting neighborhood requests through facebook messenger for their ice cream truck. But, the truck will only serve dishes of ice cream, not cones, to help promote social distancing. The creamery's location on 121 South Main Street also remains open for pick up orders in Dover and has full service of milkshakes and cones.

Meantime, the Rigatoni truck, managed by O.N.E. Hospitality, is delivering fresh bagged pasta and sauce from Tutoni's that people can cook inside their homes. The truck follows a schedule that includes stops across York County. If business continues to grow owners hope to expand the stops to other counties in the region.

"We just ride around with some Frank Sinatra rolling and me honking the horn," said Tony Calderone, of O.N.E. Hospitality. "It's like an adult ice cream truck. But, with pasta."

O.N.E. Hospitality owns Tutoni's, The Cantina, Aviano's, and Presto Pasteria York which are all shut down at this time. The group has decided to offer take out and delivery from all of their businesses at one central location at 350 Rockdale Avenue. 

"We tried to keep our core salaried people and do whatever it takes to survive," said Calderone, who said with the restaurants shutting down nearly 30 people can no longer work including bartenders and wait staff. The consolidated effort of their restaurant and the truck service is part of the group's effort to make all of their businesses survive. "It's (the truck) helping us survive and we have to do everything we can to survive."

The owners of both trucks have put in extra safety precautions in order to protect employees and customers while they conduct food delivery at neighborhoods. Both Sarah's Creamery and the Rigatoni Truck encourage social distancing in the lines of their customers and the employees wear gloves and masks.

Sarah's Creamery said most of its customers stand in their driveways instead of lining up when the truck arrives. The creamery also designates one worker to scoop so the person handling the food does not have contact with customers or money.

The credit card machine is attached to the outside of the truck and cash is requested in exact change, which is then collected in a bucket with a 6-foot pole. 

"We do have a very high number of requests all over York County," said Maddie Myers, General Manager of Sarah's Creamery, who said the company is responding to the neighborhood requests by utilizing both of the two trucks owned by the creamery. "As much as we're wanted we're going out."

Myers added, "doing this (the truck service) is keeping us alive."

Both businesses send out a large thanks to the customers who have visited their take-out locations and to those who have requested their trucks in their neighborhood.

Calderone is also thanking some customers who place big orders in the Rigatoni truck by providing them with a roll of toilet paper in their order when he can.

Credit: FOX43
Rigatoni truck workers say thank you with a roll of toilet paper to one customer who placed a large.

"It's a necessity right now," he said, adding "so we just kind of offer it and if it's a big order we just kind of throw it in there."

Because food trucks are already take-out only entities, they are allowed to operate in the state, the PA Health Department said. But, state officials do encourage the operators to take the same precautionary measures that restaurants are taking to protect the public as far as food service and protection steps. For those who are ordering, the health department said they should work to adhere to proper social distancing and staying six feet away from others.

Learn more about how to pick up food from Sarah's Creamery here and send them a message to request their truck in a neighborhood by contacting them on Facebook here.

Learn more about how to order food for pick up from O.N.E Hospitality Group here and to learn more about placing orders for the Rigatoni pasta truck.

Rigatoni pasta truck schedule: 

Sat April 18 between 1 and 7:30- Queensgate/Tyler Run area, Starview Heights, Locust Grove Elementary, and surrounding areas

Mon April 20 between 1 and 7:30: Regents’ Glen, Wyndham Hills, Grantley and surrounding areas

Tue April 21 between 1 and 7:30- Addington Reserve, Autumn Woods, and surrounding areas

Weds April 22 between 1 and 7:30- Penn State Estates, Brittany, and surrounding areas

Thur April 23 between 1 and 7:30p- Chestnut Ridge and surrounding areas

Fri April 24 between 1 ans 7:30p- Old East York and surrounding areas

Track the Rigatoni truck's location by following this link.