Schwartz brothers Noah and Justin saw a demand for good food service at the North Fork’s local wineries, where the winery’s menus were limited due to their small kitchens. So, four years ago, they set out to meet this demand with a food truck — Chef Noah remaining back in the kitchen at Noah’s in Greenport, and Justin, taking the operation on the road with a smaller menu and a different look.
Being an aficionado for anything vintage, Justin nixed the idea of a regular box truck, instead deciding on the silver bullet, a 1964 Airstream camper, with a kitchen big enough to serve hungry masses of oenophiles.
“They are cool and super-recognizable, and you don’t see many of them on the road,” said Schwartz of the campers.
The Airstream, which is original on the outside, was retrofitted with a small kitchen with just enough room for Justin and his staff to work their culinary magic, offering a rotating menu — featuring tacos, dirty fries with pulled pork, and local brews — that is changed seasonally and reflects what is available locally.
“It’s a smaller version of a kitchen, shrunk down to seven by 19 feet inside of an aluminum can,” said Schwartz with a laugh.
Not only is the Airstream the essence of cool, it’s easier to cart around than a box truck, which is not as dependable because it can have mechanical problems and break down.
Instead, the Airstream can be hitched to the back of a truck and brought anywhere, and it can fit into smaller spaces — something that comes in handy in the parking lot of a packed vineyard.
Noah’s currently has two Airstreams, which can be seen at different locations on the North Fork, and on occasion, Brooklyn. Noah’s notifies fans of upcoming stops via social media.
And the fans just keep coming, following Noah’s on the Road from location to location. Having an Airstream does help, of course, but it’s the mix of food that has customers coming back for more.
“Doing the same thing over and over is boring,” Schwartz said. “It keeps it new, keeps it fresh.”
Best known for its imaginative taco creations, Noah’s on the Road works with local farms, like Deep Roots and Trieber’s Farms in Southold, and Wesnofske Farms, which has locations in Southold and Bridgehampton, harvesting their vegetables for its varying gastronomical feats.
The truck gets its poultry such as quail, game hens, and squab, as well as silky chickens, from Feisty Acres, an organic game poultry farm in Southold, and grass-fed beef from the Amagansett-based Acabonac Farms.
“One of the best tacos we have is a brisket taco with a fried quail egg on top,” Schwartz said, noting Feisty Acres just started offering quail eggs last year.
The truck also offers pescatarian fare, serving po’boy tacos with oysters harvested by the Harvest Moon Company of Mattituck, and other seafood from Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays.
Other creations include the lobster BLT taco and shrimp taco, and for vegetarians, blackened avocado, and sweet potato and black beans.
Noah’s also has a penchant for using kimchi in its creations, using this Korean side dish from Almond restaurant in Bridgehampton and another, more familiar kitchen — that of mom, Pennie Schwartz, who makes kimchi cucumbers that are paired with another meat lovers’ taco the truck is famous for, its pork belly taco.
“We get our pork belly from Deep Roots, cover it in a hoisin glaze, and serve it with kimchi cucumbers,” Schwartz adds.
The truck can be seen at the upcoming Chefs of the North Fork at the Halyard at Sound View in Greenport on July 7, Grill Hampton on July 20, a Taste of Two Forks on July 21 at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, and the Montaco Festival at the Montauk Yacht Club on August 4.
And when Schwartz is not spreading good food across the forks, he’s spreading the love, making appearances at community functions and local charity events.
The truck will also be making a stop at Paws in the Park at Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on May 19 for the Southampton Town Animal Shelter and Adoption Center’s pet adoption event.
Schwartz is grateful for the plentiful local food resources that surround the business. There are three bodies of water — the Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean — not to mention beautiful farmland.
“There is a lot to bring to the table when you are fortunate enough to work where we do,” he said.
To follow Justin Schwartz and his food truck exploits, check out www.chefnoahs.com or @noahsontheroad.