A Sad “Ciao” For The Lucky Fig Food Truck - Houston Food Finder
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A Sad “Ciao” For The Lucky Fig Food Truck

Luca Manfé in The Lucky Fig food truck

Italian chef Luca Manfé has decided to shut down his food truck, The Lucky Fig.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Posted: December 31, 2016 at 5:03 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Anyone who thinks running a food truck is easier than running a brick and mortar restaurant should pause and consider the story of cookbook author/Masterchef winner Luca Manfè and his gourmet Italian food truck, The Lucky Fig. Manfè has announced that, after December 31, the food truck will no longer be in business thanks to a laundry list of problems.

Food trucks, which are more complicated and expensive to fix than the average vehicle, are notorious for causing their owners hardships by way of repeated breakdowns. In a press release, Manfè explained, “In the first 6 months, our truck broke down 7 times causing sales loss while food and labor costs still had to be paid.”

A constant challenge for food truck owners is diners not coming to patronize their businesses during inclement weather. Manfè also cited the heavy rains in May as hurting the business.

Luca Manfé's spinach pappardelle

Diners who still want to experience Manfé’s dishes, such as this spinach pappardelle with lamb, should get in touch regarding the Dinner With Luca catering service.

Worse, the chef says there were behind-the-scenes challenges with the investors as well. “[T]he company has five owners, and four of the five would like to move on to investments with less risk and faster profits. We have been asked to buy them out at a price the entire truck will not sell for, which we are not prepared or willing to do. So at this point we think it is in the best interest of all members of the company to liquidate and move our separate ways.”

Ultimately, Manfè now believes that fine Italian cuisine isn’t what people hit up food trucks for and found that his competitors who served fast food fare like burgers and fries were more popular. Speaking of burgers: Manfè responsibly arranged for his friend Shannon Tune, who runs the Craft Burger truck, to honor any outstanding The Lucky Fig gift certificates still floating around. The Craft Burger truck can be found at Deacon Baldy’s Bar & Food Trucks park at 5447 Fm 1488 in Magnolia.

It’s a sad end to what was overall promising, despite the problems. “In one year we served more than 7000 people, catered 26 events, 5 of which were weddings,” wrote Manfè.

Hopefully, the award-winning chef will someday be running his own brick-and-mortar restaurant. In the meantime, those with a craving for his tender ravioli, broccoli rabe and polenta should check out his Dinner With Luca catering service.

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