FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Some food trucks cater to burger lovers. Others attract fans of the breakfast burrito.
But if Laura Bonilla’s research is correct, her Super Duper Grub is the only food truck in America created for the exacting — some might say finicky — palate of the the pint-size diner.
“We are the first kids food truck in the United States,” said the Fairfield resident, who recently received permits to set up shop in Fairfield and Bridgeport. “I realized I had to find a niche. So we are primarily a kid-friendly menu.”
It was a long road to get to the colorfully appointed truck that sits outside Bonilla’s Fairfield Beach Road home.
Once upon a time, the diminutive cook ran a medical education and marketing business. But that was before the real estate bust, which left many unwilling to fund the grants upon which her business depended.
So Bonilla decided to consider her options.
“I took some time off,” she said. “That was my ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey.”
After moving to North Carolina and then on to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., she realized all her ideas centered around one thing — food.
“I come from a family of foodaholics. We used to fight over who would cook dinner. Who does that?” she said.
After taking some cooking courses at the Culinary Institute of America and toying with opening a restaurant, Bonilla decided instead to hitch her dreams to the food truck craze. She christened Super Duper Grub two years ago in Florida, offering her healthy, high-quality menu at birthday parties and charity events.
The truck, covered in cartoon characters she’s dubbed “Nomsters,” proved a big draw — and caught the eye of the kid-centric Young at Art Museum, which allowed her to park outside. Soon the museum offered her first dibs at its then-empty cafeteria, which she and her team now run as Super Duper Grub Cafe.
When Bonilla decided to move back to Fairfield, she had the truck shipped up. It made its Connecticut debut at a holiday pop-up market at Fairfield Theatre Company this month.
The concept is deceptively simple: Bonilla takes dishes that kids love and reinvents them with quality and nutrition in mind. For instance, her macaroni and cheese is made with nonprocessed cheese and might include a floret or two of fresh broccoli. Baked chicken fingers might come with a side of carrot sticks and a healthy dipping sauce.
Is Mom’s tummy grumbling, too? Her mac and cheese might include a dusting of black truffle bread crumbs.
Bonilla steers clear of GMOs and preservatives, and she tries to shop locally and in small businesses, such as Fairfield Bread Co., which provides all her breads. Dedicated to making sure all kids can access healthy meals, she donates a portion of her annual profits to No Kid Hungry.
Though Bonilla turns her attention to the Florida cafe in winter, she’ll be available for parties and other events from April through December in the new year.
“I love it!” she said of her second career. “Food excites me. When I’m cooking, I’m in the zone.”
Learn more about Super Duper Grub at Bonilla’s Facebook page .