By Julia Fisher
For anyone who doubts the responsibility, creavity, and entrepreneurship teenagers are capable of, Isaiah Rosario goes against everything they have ever believed. Last year, the current junior not only passed all his classes with flying colors, but also managed to start his own food truck on the side.
It all began when his mother, Nicole Rosario, bought two deep fryers for the family to sell homemade fries at Polytechnic High School football games.
“We had a tent that we set up at the football games. We called it ‘Fry Fry,’” Rosario said.
The small family-run operation did surprisingly well, and Rosario began asking his mother to look into buying a food truck.
“He kept saying, ‘Mom, we need to get a food truck,’ and I kept saying ‘No, no, no,’ but he did all the research himself and found a truck for lease online, so my husband and I let him go for it,” Nicole Rosario said.
After that, business began booming. Their first official gig was at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch on July 4, 2014, where they sold food to the crowds waiting to watch fireworks.
“There wasn’t really a truck with a ‘fried’ theme, and it has a good market. Who doesn’t like fried foods?” Rosasrio said.
To answer that question, apparently no one, based on the response customers have given the truck since the opening. It is now a staple at our own Granada Hills grubfest on Chatsworth Street every Friday evening, and has even made a name for itself on Abbott Kinney Blvd. in Venice and at the Los Angeles County Fair, both of which Rosario said are the busiest and his favorite stops.
Business has grown so much since their opening six months ago that they had to hire their first non-family member worker.
“When we first started, it was just Isaiah and me in the truck, yelling back and forth at each other to get food, or make this order, and now we’ve just hired our own employee,” Mrs. Rosario said.
On the outside, the truck looks pristine with its glossy blue coat of paint and its eye-catching logo, but behind the scenes, an unbelievable amount of work goes into it.
“You should see what we have to do to keep this truck running. Our day starts around 6:00 a.m., and we have to pick up the truck from a dark, smelly parking lot and go to multiple locations every day. Sometimes we don’t get home until 11:00 p.m.,” Mrs. Rosario said.
Including going to the store, prepping, cooking, creating, and perfecting his own recipes, Rosario spends about 48 hours a week working for his business.
As far as balancing school and work goes, Rosario said, “It’s hard, very hard,” but with such a strong passion for what he does, he manages to keep up his grades in order to keep the business running.
“The best thing I’ve learned out of this experience is that Isaiah has found what he loves. He knows he wants to go to culinary school, and all I want is for him to be happy and successful. I’m very proud of him,” Mrs. Rosario said.
“I have a real passion for what I do and I am really blessed to have this opportunity at such a young age,” Rosario said.