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Food trucks feeling impacts, adapting to COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted at 8:51 PM, Dec 23, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - In 2020, Brett and Veronica Kirkhart have been bringing Cuban cuisine to Hampton Roads with their food truck, Cuban Coffee Co.

“Being an active-duty service member, my wife's from South Florida, we're used to good Cuban coffee,” Brett Kirkhart said.

But the COVID-19 pandemic, Kirkhart said, has made this year tough to swallow.

“The positive is I am mobile. The negative has been just getting rolling. It's like pushing a boulder uphill,” he said. “You have all these big festivals where these are big moneymakers for the mobile food industry, and with them shutting them down, you lose the bookings. It's not there.”

The same goes for Donnie Fry IV of Donniefrys, who has been serving food out of his truck for two years.

“For me, this truck is everything,” Fry told News 3.

Fry credits a stable spot at Smartmouth Brewing Pilot House in Virginia Beach, along with online orders and a regular group of customers, that's helped keep business rolling.

“They've kept me going. They've kept gas in my gas tank,” Fry said. “It takes relationships like that - really strong ones - and for me, there isn't really anything better than knowing they've got my back.”

The Kirkharts said word of mouth and connecting with different neighborhoods has helped them.

“It's been a lot of word of mouth and a lot of door knocking,” Kirkhart said.

Both Fry and Kirkhart said, above all, strength and positivity are key ingredients looking ahead.

“It's like eating an elephant one bite at a time. Keep going,” Kirkhart said. “Everything seems to keep changing, and you just have to keep adapting and change with it.”

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