by Lisa Tome
Patricia Wing no longer has to get in her car and head out to Route 40 during her half hour lunch break from the accounts payable department for Cecil County Government.
She just has to walk outside.
"I usually come out here three times a week. The food is great and I think it's a good bargain. I don't have to drive out and the prices are reasonable," said Wing. "I like the sage sausage and the veggie wraps are healthy. He has a variety of health food."
Devin Saunders has set up shop in the parking lot of the County Administration Building on Elkton's Chesapeake Boulevard. He opened his mobile business, Dem Dogz & More, about 50 days ago. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., he's open at the county building. On Tuesdays, he's on Howard Street in downtown Elkton at the farm market. On weekends, he's a vendor at local events.
Opening his own business has been the culmination of a dream for Saunders.
"I think it's a perfect platform to launch my business. The thought process of it was about two and a half years," said Saunders. "But I've eaten all my life."
As a teen, he worked at both KFC and Golden Corral. As an adult, he spent 15 years working as a supervisor for Comcast. The father of four realized he was spending too much time away from home. That's when he began exploring the idea of opening his own shop. He then took a leave of absence for his part time job at a mattress store, and opened up.
"It's been more work than I imagined. The daily routine is stressful but not as stressful as it was. It's fun. I like talking to people," he said. "Dealing with people's food is important. This window here (in the mobile kitchen) is my big screen TV."
Mary Murphey works in the housing office. "I come here a lot. I get the chicken tenders, quesadilla, or the breakfast sandwich. It's great when you forget your lunch at home," said Murphey. "We get a half hour break. You can take your lunch inside and eat it and keep on working."
Saunders sells favorites such as hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, chicken cheese steaks, breakfast sandwiches, fries, and drinks. But he is also working to introduce his customers to healthier choices such as wheat pasta, California sandwiches, low carb wraps, and salads. "We definitely want to offer comfort foods. But I'm also trying to bridge comfort foods and smart foods," he said. "The IT Department is raving over the strawberry veggie wraps."
Since opening the cart was a leap of faith, Saunders isn't certain what the future holds. He hopes to gain a customer base and support to keep the business open year round. He's already planning a cold weather menu which will include chili, gumbo, and crab cakes. The business accepts credit cards. They also take orders by phone from the county building.
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