By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Unique foods from Wild Willes Sandwich Shack will be available during the Lincoln Scandia Valley Summer Fest Friday – Saturday, Aug. 2 – 3.
Owners Les and Deb Wille, who live in the St. Cloud area, started their food truck business last fall. Les is also the owner of Lester’s Water Works, a directional drilling company that works mostly with geothermal heating and cooling systems. Deb has worked as a cook at Kay’s Kitchen for many years.
“We both love food, we both love to cook,” said Les. “We have the winters off and needed something to do.”
Deb, the daughter of Don and Sandy Lorentzen in Lincoln, said she and Les have been entrepreneurs for as long as they can remember, owning several businesses since they met when both were living in the Lincoln Lakes Area.
“We met at the Lincoln Free Church when we were teenagers,” said Deb.
They thought of starting a diner, but also wanted to travel. A food truck sounded appealing, so off they went to Miami, Fla., where food trucks are made.
Food trucks are created to the buyers’ specifications, and not cheaply. The Willes felt lucky when they found a hardly-used food truck for the right price.
Friends of theirs in Florida offered their home to the Willes while they got their feet wet with the food truck business.
“We worked in the Daytona Beach, Fla., area and eventually got involved with a food truck group,” said Les. He said dozens of trucks get together four or five times a month in a parking lot, an event or other venues.
“Thousands of people showed up wherever we were parked,” said Deb. “They all came to eat.”
One of the get-togethers was a food truck war. The trucks competed in different categories. While most of the categories were judged by the people, the Chef’s Choice Award was judged by chefs from the Food Network.
“We missed winning first place by .003 of a point,” said Deb.
The Willes plan is to work in Central Minnesota in the summer and head to Florida in the winter. There they set up on street corners during the week and are with the food truck group on the weekends.
While in Minnesota Mondays through Fridays, Wild Willes will be parked around the St. Cloud area. The Willes set up their truck at different business complexes to maximize the number of their customers.
On the weekends, Les and Deb will work different festivals.
They were invited to set up their food truck at Freedom Fest in Pierz July 6, which was a great success. Through word of mouth, Wild Willes is growing. They are being contacted by festival organizers to be part of local events.
“This is a lot of work, but it’s fun,” aid Deb. “Our food is so good, it’s a treat to see our customer’s faces when they taste it.”
Wild Willes’ menu consists of their Famous Buzzard Balls, which is a chicken appetizer with jalepenos and pepper jack cheese wrapped in bacon then deep fried. There is also the Wille Good Bacon and Blue Burger and the Cheese Louise, a grilled cheese sandwich with avocados, pesto and tomatoes.
During the Scandia Valley Summer Fest, Wild Willes will also be manning a candy shack. All proceeds from the sale of the candy will go toward the Scandia Valley Fire Department. A portion of the proceeds from Wild Willes Sandwich Shack will also benefit the department.
The truck will be doing business during the Fest from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. both days.
For more information, go to Wild Willes website at wild
willes.com, email Deb or Les at [email protected] or call them at (320) 339-0856. Wild Willes can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.