POCATELLO — When asked where his food truck’s name came from, Brian Zenger replied, “Where did you always go as a kid to get the best food?”
With this, Grandma’s Pantry was born.
But even before they served their signature “grilled cheeses,” Brian and his wife Kimberly were selling homemade jams and jellies — specializing in the sweet-and-spicy. Now serving prepared meals, the couple rely heavily on their specialty preserves, including peach and habanero jelly in their steak and onion grilled cheese, and three-berry syrup on their brisket. fried pork – what they call belly bites.
“So many people didn’t know how to use our spicy jellies and were just like, ‘Ew, that’s mean, I wouldn’t have that on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,'” Kimberly told EastIdahoNews .com. “That’s when we told them, it’s for cooking. Cooking is the way to go with spicy jellies.
In addition to showing customers just how good food can be by using spicy jelly in preparation, the Zengers are in the process of completing a cookbook that highlights some of their recipes and offers advice on use of jelly in your own recipes.
For about five years, Brian and Kimberly have been honing and adding menu items, including their latest addition, the Hungry Mann – a 1/3 pound burger with blueberry-habanero cream cheese, lettuce and tomato topped with four pieces of their signature belly bites. They now offer an assortment of ready meals, including grilled cheese sandwiches with meat options and, of course, spicy jellies.
Before long, Brian and Kimberly’s jam and jelly options had grown tremendously, and their ready-meal menu had reflected that growth.
But, like many other businesses, they were put in a difficult position in the spring of 2020 when much of the state and country was shut down due to the COVID pandemic. With limited options, when it came to events requiring food trucks, Brian devised a plan and pitched it to other local food truck owners.
“All food truck vendors, we’re all a little community here,” he said. “All the events were canceled and we were all worried about making it through (the shutdown). We talked to each other and said, ‘If we’re all in one place, maybe we’ll all win some money. money and we can survive it.” It worked really well.”
The first roundup, in 2020, only included six food trucks. With popularity growing, both in food trucks as a whole and in the idea of a roundup, this year’s lineup of food trucks grew to 20. So many that Brian was forced to reinvent the Monday setup of the historic lodge in downtown Pocatello.
“In the next few weeks when the weather starts to improve, we’re going to start having (food trucks) on both sides of the street,” Brian said.
And on Wednesday, when the roundup takes place in the Chubbuck City Hall parking lot, the growing options will soon include shopping.
“The Portneuf Valley Farmers’ Market is also joining us,” added Brian. “Right now they have a few artisans, and as soon as the weather turns and we can actually start growing produce, we should have fresh produce as well.
While the options are plentiful at gathering events, what makes Grandma’s Pantry unique are their homemade jams and jellies, and the combination of sweet and spicy that using these jellies provides.
While visiting EastIdahoNews.com, Brian and Kimberly made us try the Huck Finn burger (the Hungry Mann, minus the belly bites), the steak and onion grilled cheese (the sandwich that started their food menu) and belly bites.
While we’d happily eat any of these items again, the belly bites left a lasting impression. They’re perfectly cooked – roasted for several hours before being fried – and the three-berry syrup goes perfectly with them. And the fries, made with fresh cut potatoes from Gold Emblem Produce in Idaho Falls, are also perfectly cooked and seasoned.
The food truck roundup takes place at Pocatello, at the downtown pavilion, every Monday, and at Chubbuck, at City Hall, every Wednesday. Both days the trucks start serving at 4 p.m. and stay until dark.
Grandma’s Pantry daily and weekly schedules are available on Facebook. And jams and jellies can be purchased online at grandmaspantrypocatello.com.
If you would like to make a recommendation for the next destination to include in East Idaho Eats, email [email protected] and include “EATS” in the subject line.