SAN MARCOS — One of San Marcos’ most popular restaurants, known for its delicious variety of pies, will soon be taking their pies out on the road in a very unique food truck.
Mama Kat’s Restaurant and Pie Shop recently finished renovating the 1967 C10 Step Van that the owners purchased nearly six years ago that was initially going to store the restaurant’s dried goods.
Somewhere along the way, however, the owners realized they had something much more special on their hands.
“It was during the drive from Oregon to San Marcos when my wife and I were driving the van down that we realized, ‘We have got something more than a storage van,’” said Michael Herrera who co-owns the restaurant with his mother, Kat Herrera, as he spun the tail of the two-day trip to bring back the van from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego County.
“We’re driving down and all along the trip, people are sticking their heads out of their cars and snapping pictures of the van. I think we knew then that we had something special,” he said.
Six years, a ton of renovation work and a snazzy custom job courtesy of local Relic Sign Company, the Mama Kat’s “Pie Van” is ready to hit the streets, delivering the apple, strawberry rhubarb and cherry pies that have made the establishment — which was formerly known as Grandpa Allen’s until the Herrera family rebranded it as Mama Kat’s in 2008 — one of the most popular in the city.
Frequently, Mama Kat’s has a line outside of the restaurant and hour-long waits are the norm on the weekends.
“Now, we will be able to take the food on the road, as it were,” Michael said.
Both mother and son said they hoped the food truck would capture some of the nostalgia of the old bread delivery trucks they would see in Los Angeles, such as the ones at the Helm’s Bakery in Culver City.
“I grew up just down the street from the Helm’s bakery, and it is one of those places that really brings back memories,” Kat said. “You just don’t see those bread delivery trucks anymore, it is a vestige of a time long past.
“I think the van will give people that warm, nostalgic feeling, which is what we are trying to do with our food and the restaurant,” she said.
Deb Bostwick, the general manager of Relic Signs, said that nostalgia is what attracted them to work with the Herreras on the custom job.
“They stand for everything that we stand for,” she said. “We saw the truck and immediately said, ‘We’re in.’”
Michael said the van will probably make its public debut on St. Patrick’s Day, giving the family a couple of weeks to work out all of the logistics.