The potential for a rivalry between Oma’s Belgian Waffles on a Stick and Berardi’s World Famous French Fries is there, yet, the two mobile businesses seem to work together.
Ron Upton and his wife Marie run Oma’s Belgian Waffles and Cafe in Greenwich, which is where the idea for a food truck was born.
“We actually bought the trailer (truck) from its previous owner and then held it in the parking lot of our restaurant,” Upton said.
“I told my wife she needed to do something with her waffle recipes. … I mean … they’re amazing.”
Maria was born in Spain. She then moved to Houthalen, Limburg, Belgium when she was 3 years old. The two met several years later when Ron Upton was stationed there with the U.S. Air Force.
“The best souvenir I ever got,” he said with a smile. “And 32 years later we’re here.”
After their restaurant developed from serving mainly crepes and Belgian waffles, to a café with artisanal coffee drinks, Upton said they expanded due to a demand for their food.
Soon after that, the owners of Berardi’s reached out to Upton about an available lot.
“We know each other anyway. … So when they said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come over here and use our lot?’ I thought, ‘All right, let’s do it.’”
On just the other side of a small building in the same lot is Berardi’s Famous French Fries. Contributing to the two trucks’ amicable relationship is the fact that Berardi’s specializes in lunch.
Known for their “world famous” fries and Philly cheese steaks, Berardi’s has been in business since 1939. It was a boardwalk staple at Cedar Point from 1942 through 1978.
Tiffany Striker, the truck’s manager of more than eight years, was enthusiastic about her workplace.
“Our boss,” Striker said of Dan Leber, “is actually the grandson of Berardi’s founder.”
Following the closing down of one of the Berardi family restaurants, the parking lot became the home of the food truck/trailer that has since been operating throughout Huron and Erie counties for five years.
When asked what she enjoyed about working the truck, Striker described “a laid back” atmosphere and dedicated customers.
“It’s so laid back here. Honestly, everyone is great,” she said. “We have amazing, amazing customers. They’re understanding that this (Berardi’s truck) isn’t ‘fast food’ and that it takes a little while to make.”
Referring to Berardi’s start at Cedar Point, Striker said being known for their “world famous” fries at the park introduced a lot of international fans.
“People from all over came to Cedar Point, they would eat Berardi’s (and) then go home. But they remembered how good it was and kept coming back; that's how we’re ‘world famous,’ you know? We’re all over the place,” she said with laugh.
Customers have come to Berardi’s from as far as Florida and Alaska.
“We have a customer (who) drives from Cleveland at least twice a week for Berardi’s,” Striker said.