Posted 7/27/11 (Wed)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
Many would agree that the oil boom has changed the face of McKenzie County, as well as the faces of those who now call this area home. And, while there are mixed feelings regarding some of the changes that have occurred, one change has peaked some interest.
Seemingly out of nowhere, food trucks have appeared in Watford City. At first you may have noticed them on your way to or from work and thought to yourself, “huh?” Then maybe a friend or co-worker stopped in and related their experience and your reaction became, “I’ve got to try that out.”
That is exactly the reaction that the owners of these trucks were hoping for. Chris Toth, owner of the Rolling Smokehouse parked at Power Fuels, Sue Griffith, owner of Sue’s Kitchen seen on the side of the road by CarQuest/Valley Motor Supply, and Omar Bonitez, owner of Oh Burrito in the Twist parking lot, couldn’t be more pleased with the response.
For all three owners, this is a new business venture. Like many in today’s economy, Toth, Griffith and Bonitez fell on hard times. They have all placed their hopes in a risk that for now, is panning out.
Both Toth and Griffith came here looking for work, and what they found, instead, was opportunity.
“We know what it is like to be on the road and not be able to find something good and hot to eat,” Toth and his wife relate.
The Toths roots are in North Dakota, and though they are currently living in Minnesota, they are pleased to be here, making a go of their new business. They stress that their food is homemade and that they put a lot of preparation into the food they serve.
“We wouldn’t send anything out that we wouldn’t be willing to eat ourselves,” states Toth.
Griffith is originally from Idaho, and having been hit hard by the recession herself, came to Williston to find work. But not liking what she saw, and seeing the need, she started a new business. The one thing Griffith conveys most sincerely is that she is sorry for what the boom has done to the town.
“You can tell what it was before and that the people really care for the town,” says Griffith, adding that she really likes the atmosphere and “small-town feel” of Watford.
Bonitez’s beginning was a bit different. He was hoping to begin a car wash franchise in Washington, but couldn’t secure funding due to the recession. He learned of the opportunities available here in Watford City through a connection to John Harder, the new owner of the Twist Drive-In’s son. The Twist became part owners in his Burrito truck, and Bonitez, his wife and her sister, headed east.
They’ve been here about a month and say that things are going very well. They are looking into expansion options in the surrounding areas, including New Town, and are hoping to be here through the winter months.
All three hold licenses with the State Department of Health and have high standards for the food they serve. They also, similarly, have really enjoyed the people they have met. And although they don’t know what the future holds for them or their business, they are here for the time-being and love it.