Toronto couple puts life savings into Filipino burger business inspired by their daughter
The kitchen on wheels, owned by couple Faye Francisco and Chris Threlked, is a painted extravaganza of cosmic eggs and meteoric burger patties. Its nickname is Moony and, according to Francisco, it cost the couple their entire life savings.
"As of right now, this is literally all or nothing," she says. "Everything that we have from our savings, from my parents, [Chris'] parents. Too many people helped us just to have this. We can't bear to disappoint them."
Francisco, a George Brown culinary school graduate with more than 10 years experience in restaurants, left her cooking job at the onset of the pandemic.
She and Threlked were both worried about exposing their daughter, now three, to the coronavirus and decided doing catering from home was the safest option.
"The name itself is picked by our daughter Luna," says Francisco. "Out of nowhere my daughter said, 'Hungry Moon.'"
They tried to expand their catering business into a storefront in Durham in 2020, but lockdown made it impossible, so the couple decided to go all in and buy a custom-made food truck.
It was hellish getting the truck back to Toronto from Greater Napanee, Ontario where it was made, one that involved high winds, getting stuck in a ditch, and a 911 call. It cost them a down payment of more than $30,000, with more payments to be made.
But getting the truck and landing a spot at Street Eats Market ended up being a life saver.
"This location was a blessing for us," she says. "We were about to give up.... We thought, 'What if we can't find a location to operate? Maybe it's not too late to go back.'"
The couple just launched Hungry Moon this past weekend as one of about a dozen vendors now operating seven days a week at Scarborough Town Centre.
Out of their concession window, Francisco and Threlked serve a Filipino fusion menu of hearty dishes that their family would eat.
There are options like The Soy-lestial burger with tokwa't (minus the pork) inspired by Threlked, who is vegetarian.
The Deep Impact Meat-eor, with lechon kawali and mango coleslaw, is one of the signatures.
They say another popular burger is The Red Stardust Meat-eor, made with a Cajun shrimp and served with tostones and Hungry Moon's Flying Saucer: their own aioli, made with BBQ sauce
Francisco, who immigrated to Toronto from the Philippines, also offers silogs with garlic rice, fried eggs, and proteins like BBQ chicken, pork belly, tofu sisig and Beyond Meat.
"We're trying to stay positive," says Francisco. "If this location doesn't succeed, at least we can take the business with us."
Aside from Luna, the couple has their "boys": a pair of dogs named Moitie and Sharpie. Francisco wants the whole family taken care of, which is why there's always a water bowl for other dogs visiting the Hungry Moon truck with their people.
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