We’ve loved the fresh and delicious food that Mashita has been serving up from their food truck—and we couldn’t be more excited about their new brick-and-mortar restaurant that just opened on the corner of W. Elizabeth and Liberty Streets. Thanks to their catering manager Jennifer Nelson for answering some of our questions!
You’ve been around the food truck scene for some time now – what are you most excited for in your new restaurant location?
Jen: We are most excited to expand our market share to include local demographics that have previously never had our food. There are many people in our area that do not eat at food trucks due to a perception that they are dirty and unregulated, which is an unfair stereotype, and we are excited to share our unique style of food and cooking with a wider audience. We are also extremely excited to operate in full capacity throughout the year, rather than running into extremely slow periods due to changes in weather and seasons. We hope that our new space allows us to become more creative with seasonal special items, desserts, and alcohol offerings, as well. We want our reputation for high quality dining to be exemplified through all aspects of service.
You’ve expanded your menu – what’s the most popular new dish? What’s your new favorite?
Our most popular regular menu item is definitely bibimbap, one of our weekly specials turned permanent menu item. The combination of clean eating, fresh veggies, properly seasoned protein, with our signature sauce and fried farm egg makes for a great lunch or dinner meal. My personal favorite new menu items are the fried chicken sandwich, which was ill-timed for its release due to the Popeye’s fried chicken sandwich craze (or maybe it’s a blessing), as well as our chicken katsu entree. We are extremely proud of our fried items and are excited to offer them in our new restaurant space.
Will the food truck still be around town?
The food truck will continue to operate for private catering events next season. We are also attempting to add additional infrastructure to the food truck in order to continue participating in public events, but new fire safety regulations are being enforced as of February 2020, and many changes to the food truck industry are on the way. Hopefully, we will be able to work with the city and local contractors to bring our food truck into compliance, but it is a challenge that we are still working to overcome.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Our mission statement is to prepare and serve high quality foods with flavor profiles that incorporate the Korean cultural heritage of our owner and chef, Mikey Reisenberg. Many like to describe this approach as “fusion”, but we like to call it “refined” or “inspired” in an attempt to distance our style of cooking from thoughtless combinations of ingredients that push a dish into the realm of “ethnic cooking”. We would rather use Shenandoah Valley influences and ingredients to create more familiar menu items, while using Korean ingredients and flavors to augment the final product in a direction that is uniquely “Mashita”. We see each ingredient and component as having a purpose and a place, intending for each aspect of a dish to compliment one another rather than overwhelm.