Successful food businesses beginning to emerge from Mountain Harvest Kitchen incubator
UNICOI COUNTY, Tenn. —
You may be seeing a bright green food truck on the road, heading to cater or serve at events in our area.
Michael Killgore is the chef and owner of Bite!, a popular food truck that can be found all over the Tri-Cities area.
"A mobile purveyor of deliciousness. That's our tag line," says chef and owner Michael Killgore.
The deliciousness offered includes a variety of good eats, while keeping it local.
"We do Philly cheese steaks, but we can also do a really nice teriyaki bowl with rice, fresh vegetables, everything we do on the truck is fresh. I've got a baker out of Elizabethton that makes awesome hoagies for me, for our sandwiches," Killgore says.
Killgore has been a chef for nearly 20 years, and the thought of opening a food truck had been on his mind for a while.
"It kind of festered to the point where I was able to get out do what I want to do and make food that I want to make without the constraints of a corporation or somebody else telling me what to do," Killgore says.
Bite! opened as a food truck last June, popping up at food truck events in Johnson City and Kingsport throughout the summer.
"After that everything just kind of blew up, we were getting phone calls, people around town, the businesses that we deal with have been great, allowing us to come out, set up and do our thing," Killgore says.
The food truck business began with help from Mountain Harvest Kitchen in Unicoi and its business incubator services, including equipment, training and networking opportunities. It's a certified commercial kitchen created to support development of food businesses and its facilities are available for rent to businesses for food processing. Killgore calls it a one stop-shop for food entrepreneurs.
"The equipment that they have here is top notch, it's all state of the art. You've got a networking that is unparalleled in the area," Killgore says.
"We work with clients, you know, whatever their needs are. They come to us with different questions, whether it's business, marketing, planning, sourcing, ingredients," says director of Mountain Harvest Kitchen Lee Manning.
As Killgore's Bite! Food truck continues on a path to success, he says the best part is interacting with the community.
"Being able to get out, not being stuck in one place, I get to see a wide variety of people and I get to feed a wide variety of people too, which is awesome," Killgore says.