A husband and wife team from Big Lake are bringing their popular food truck flavors into a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in Albertville, with the first day of business set for Thursday, Sept. 19.
Lana and Darren Thomas had more traditional occupations before starting their food truck business in 2011. Lana was working in real estate and Darren, a veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard who served in both Kosovo and Iraq, was working in the state’s Department of Corrections. Darren said Lana came home from work in a funk one day, frustrated and upset about her job.
“I just want to tell tacos!” Lana said she cried as she vented to her husband.
It may have began as a joke, but the couple began wondering if money could be made in such a business.
In the end, they took a leap and opened a mobile food trailer, where they sold tacos and burritos at festivals. Their business became more popular, and Darren worked all winter five years ago to build their first food truck. For the past 4.5 years, the pair have taken their food truck downtown, to corporate lunches and other events all over the metro area.
The Thomas’ business continued to expand as demand for their food grew. Darren built a second food truck that they named Rebel Lobster, serving more seasonal and specialty foods like Maine-style lobster rolls and coconut shrimp. Customers began asking where they could find the trucks’ food when they weren’t in their area. After surveying customers, family and friends, the couple decided it was a natural transition to expand to a physical location.
Darren said many food trucks who open restaurants want to locate in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, but the couple wanted to stay closer to home and their local following. They said patrons can expect awesome customer service and a fun vibe when they visit Outlaw Grill.
The Outlaw Grill will specialize in their food truck’s popular Tex Mex version of burritos, which are loaded with tots instead of rice and beans. They also serve tacos, loaded tots and other items, served with their house-made guacamole, sauces, marinades and dressings. Darren said their food is prepared “Scandinavian-style spicy,” but can be made more spicy with their available sauces.
For dessert, Lana said she’s been hard at work on their cookie sandwiches, with fresh-baked cookies and hand-scooped ice cream.
More Services to Come
Once the restaurant is up and running, Lana said they plan to finalize their online ordering process, where customers will be able to order and pay online, then pick up in the restaurant. They also plan to add catering to the Outlaw Grill’s list of services in the near future.
Outlaw Grill is located near Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping and All State Insurance in the strip mall on Kyler Ave. in Albertville, in Prairie Run Café’s former location. It will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.