Hays cook opens restaurant on wheels
By RANDY GONZALES
Rick Patrick has been a cook at Pheasant Run for two years, the first time he's worked as a cook. But that doesn't mean he doesn't know his way around a kitchen.
"I grew up in an Italian family, even though my last name is Patrick," he said. "If you grow up in an Italian family, you learn how to cook, and you appreciate food."
Patrick, 55, grew up in Ohio but has lived in Hays since 1995. He worked in retail for approximately 30 years, and always wanted to own a restaurant. But he didn't like the headaches associated with running a restaurant, so he decided to start a food truck business instead.
"This was kind of a way of doing it, and doing something different," Patrick said. "It's an up-and-coming trend around the United States. When you look at Hays, and our selection of restaurants, and our selection of people who have the ability to do catering, the numbers work."
In addition to Patrick's full-time job, Rick's Rollin' Roadhouse started up Labor Day weekend. Patrick's 1995 purple and yellow Winnebago is parked at Toby Jugs, 104 E. Seventh, where it is open for business from 5 p.m. until hungry customers stop showing up Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. A couple weekends ago, Patrick was there until 2 a.m. one night.
"What's starting to happen is people are finding out we're here," Patrick said. "They're starting to just drive up."
Patrick's Philly cheesesteak, made of sirloin steak loaded with peppers and onions and Provolone cheese, is popular. He also has an angus burger and huge, fresh-cut french fries. There's also nachos with his specially made cheese sauce. On Thursday, he added pulled pork for the first time.
"The big thing with me is there's nothing on this truck that's frozen," Patrick said. "It's all cooked fresh."
Down the road, Patrick plans to add a pizza oven, as well as have music playing for customers while they wait.
Patrick also wants to do catering; he already has one order. He also plans to hit the street and eventually serve food at other locations, too.
"The ingredients are here," Patrick said. "I just need the public to come down here and try it out."