El Fat Cat Grill is on the move -- literally. Jenny and Felix Sanchez opened their restaurant last March at Fourth Avenue and Vancouver Street in Kennewick.
"We had a lot of loyal customers," he said. "But the costs and overhead of running a restaurant were just too much. Yet we couldn't give up on our dreams."
They closed their brick and mortar site Feb. 29 and bought a 24-foot trailer, already outfitted as a mobile restaurant. On May 1, they took their menu on the road.
"My grandmom knew this was the direction we wanted to go and her next door neighbors had this trailer for sale. They had been using it in Pullman, selling food to the students, but it wasn't working out for them," he said.
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It's perfect for Chef Felix's needs.
"All I needed to do was upgrade a few things and we were ready to go," he said.
"We had looked into having one built. But that would have taken months," Jenny Sanchez said.
Weekdays you'll find them parked at John Dam Plaza in Richland. Look for the big red trailer with El Fat Cat Grill emblazoned across both sides.
The Sanchezes like the flexibility of the food trailer.
"Just being able to move, to go to our customers, to be in Kennewick one day and Richland the next, has a lot of appeal," Felix Sanchez said.
"Food trailers like ours are popular in places like Seattle and Portland," he said.
Like concession stands at fairs and other events, customers place their orders at a counter on the side of the trailer and can watch as Felix works his culinary magic inside.
"It's a full kitchen, just compact," Jenny Sanchez said.
"What they'll find is they can get gourmet food out of a food trailer and have it taste like what you can get in a restaurant," she said.
Once served, customers can enjoy their meal at one of the tables in the park or take it back home or to the office.
Anyone familiar with their Kennewick location will recognize many of the items on El Fat Cat Grill's current menu.
"We still have the tacos, burritos and tortas, including our popular Triple Threats and Crabby Melts," she said.
However, Felix's popular paella and clam chowder are off the menu until the weather cools off in the fall.
"They're just not warm weather meals," Jenny Sanchez said.
Instead, Felix Sanchez plans to take advantage of seasonal, locally-produced veggies and fruits in hearty summer salads.
"I don't like to cook the same things all the time. It gets boring, at least for me," Felix Sanchez said.
The Sanchezes plan to park their food trailer at John Dam Plaza during the week and take it on the road to different events and locations on the weekends.
Hours are flexible. Generally they're open and serving by 11 a.m. and close between 5 and 6 p.m. Depending on the event, like the Live at Five concerts Thursdays at John Dam Plaza, they'll stay open later.
To place a pick up order, call 546-1413.
To check on the menu, go to http://elfatcatgrill.blogspot.com.