CATLETTSBURG People awaiting lunch on Monday seemed to prefer leaving the driving to The Drive In.

Local food truck vendors serve up convenience and piping hot food just a little closer to where people work and live. The Drive In food truck has been regularly visiting Catlettsburg on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There is never a shortage of customers for the fresh food prepared by the business based in Olive Hill.

Customers were lined up at least 20 deep before the vending window on the truck opened at 11 a.m. An employee at the Boyd County Clerk’s Office said that she tried the Big T burger (a triple cheeseburger) for the first time and said that it was delicious. And she got her food in a fraction of the time it would have taken her to drive to a more conventional restaurant, eat and then return to work.

The Drive In food truck has a fairly diverse menu, as well as lunch staples such as a variety of hot dogs, hamburgers and fries.

Sierra Crites, of Catlettsburg, said that her food experience Monday also involved the Big T (though she ordered hers without cheese) and that it “is absolutely amazing. I give it a perfect messy 10.” Crites went on to rate her donut an “8.”

Added Crites: “Overall, The Drive In does not disappoint; it hasn’t for me in the four times I’ve eaten it.”

Crites’ comments might provide insight into why so many people enjoy the Drive In. People enjoy the truck’s thick, juicy, hand-smashed burgers and crispy fries. There are no frozen patties and no microwave or heat-lamp food. Standing in line for The Drive In food, patrons said, is far better than standing in line for fast food. Even with the inevitable line that forms in front of the food-truck window, Crites said that it is still faster and eliminates the hassle of driving to and from a restaurant.

The Drive In owners Todd and Wanda Antrobus said that they have a commitment to providing their customers with the best food, the best service and the best experience. Last September they opened the Drive In restaurant and the food trucks dispersed from there to cover Morehead, Grayson, Sandy Hook, Catlettsburg and Ashland. Antrobus said that he is humbled by the response to his food, and said he tries to give people “crafted” food that is made to order and isn’t like any other food available anywhere.

Hillbilly Hibachi is an operation based in Louisa. Its food truck will be parked in Catlettsburg for a few hours on Wednesday. Owner Travis York said the business has been wildly successful. It typically travels south to Johnson County and Magoffin County. Hillbilly Hibachi often gives portions of its proceeds to local sports teams, cancer patients, funeral costs or other charities.

According to York, Hillbilly Hibachi pays an average of $250 in permit fees each week. The permit costs $50 — and is valid for one location per day — and is available at each county’s health department. Each truck must pass an inspection.

The Drive In has a statewide license and is permitted to go anywhere.

Local restaurants seem inclined to share customers with the food trucks. Dawna Lauton, manager of Giovanni’s in Catlettsburg, said that she doesn’t believe the food trucks are stealing customers from the more traditional restaurants in the area, but rather giving customers more options to choose from for their noon meal. She said they view it as healthy competition, and more choices mean more business.

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