Chris Terlikar doesn’t rest. He currently runs North Fitzroy’s Bluebonnet Barbecue and its award-winning sister bar, Loretta’s. Now the self-proclaimed “pitboss” has announced the launch of a barbeque food truck. It’s name? Mabel.
Terlikar discovered the truck – a ’70s-model International C1300, dubbed Mabel by its previous owners – sitting neglected in an open field. The chef was out looking for pre-loved hardwood to use at Loretta’s when he found the old truck. “I snapped her up straight away,” says Terlikar.
The Bluebonnet team set about restoring her over a six-month period, a challenge Terlikar describes as “rust, rust and more rust”. With the truck finally fitted out, hand-painted and emblazoned with barbeque-centric slogans, Mabel is finally ready to hit the road again.
The focus of the food is firmly on Bluebonnet’s smoked-meat classics, including Black Angus brisket, Berkshire pulled pork, and oak-smoked chicken. Expect some new takes, too. “We'll have a seasonally changing menu,” says Terlikar. “It'll be used to experiment with new dishes.”
Mabel will make its public debut this Saturday April 1 at food-truck park Welcome to Thornbury between 12pm and 10.30pm. To celebrate the launch, Mabel’s first 50 barbeque trays will be on the house (or should we say, truck?). After this, Mabel will return to Welcome to Thornbury on the evening of Wednesday April 19 before making stops at Tallarook’s Boogie Festival over the Easter long weekend and at the Four Pillars gin distillery in Healesville.
Bluebonnet venue manager Shayne McConachy says they’re thrilled to adopt the truck from a long list of owners who have treasured Mabel.
“We inherited it from a family who travelled around Australia in it,” says McConachy. “It’s been loved so much.”