Last Wednesday, food truck Rocket Fine Street Food, run and owned by couple Patricia Natter-Meneguzzo and Joe Meneguzzo, stopped on Waterman Street during lunch time and sold out of everything in two hours.
The truck features a space-themed menu peppered with references to Star-Trek, Star Wars and various celestial bodies. “I like science fiction, and I have a sense of humor, so I like to work the two together and hopefully entertain and inform people as to what we are and what we are doing,” Meneguzzo said. “My mother always wanted me to be an astronaut, so I didn’t let her down,” he quipped.
The Providence-based truck has made a name for itself with its egg sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers prepared with local and organic ingredients. According to Rocket’s website, the business strives to provide customers with cuisine that meets only the highest standards: “Our philosophy is simple. Throughout our menu we use the highest quality ingredients in their purest form.”
Always involved and interested in cooking, Meneguzzo “grew up in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen, and I grew up baking at home,” Natter-Meneguzzo said. Going into the food service business was something they always wanted to do, but having no prior experience, they felt that managing a restaurant would be too much to handle, Natter-Meneguzzo added. Now, Natter-Meneguzzo handles the window and administrative responsibilities while Meneguzzo cooks each dish.
Inspired by the food truck trend that started in the early 2000s on the West Coast, Natter-Meneguzzo said the couple felt they were up to managing a truck. “We decided that we (were) going to do it, quit our jobs, pack everything, move back to New England and start the Rocket,” Natter-Meneguzzo said.
In 2010, the couple started their business in northwest Connecticut, but, after a year and a half, moved to Providence — a small city with lots of pedestrian traffic and great food culture, Natter-Meneguzzo noted. Today, the couple mainly operate in Providence but also travel around Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts to cater birthday parties, weddings or graduation parties, she added.
Though the truck has proved much more work than the couple anticipated, it has been extraordinarily rewarding to engage with customers and hear their feedback, Natter-Meneguzzo said. “It is a different dynamic than what you get at a restaurant,” she added.