Tom Craft doesn’t stray far from the kitchen.
The co-founder of 2 Fat Guys American Grill in Hockessin is a full-time culinary arts instructor at Delcastle Technical High School. Consequently, he has summers off.
Since partner Jeff Cook handles the restaurant’s on-site operations, Craft wanted a productive part-time gig, which, of course, involves food.
Introducing a surprising twist on the traditional slice.
The food trailer hit the road last summer, and Craft is already booking 2024 events, community appearances and private parties.
Admittedly, it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around a pizza cone. Is it a slice folded into a cone shape?
Craft makes a dough cone and fills it with pizza-style toppings, sauce and cheese.
Most would agree that the pizza cone stands out in a sea of ice cream, taco, barbecue, and burger trucks.
Craft and Cook started 2 Fat Guys in 2005 and expanded to Greenville and Concord Pike.
After those two locations closed, Craft took the teaching job and ran the restaurant’s back office from home.
He said this time, he wanted to do something on his own. He initially thought of pizza because Bivouac Pizza rents 2 Fat Guys’ kitchen as a commissary, and he could pick the food truck owner’s brain.
But after negotiations to buy a wood-fired pizza trailer sputtered, Craft learned about Kono Pizza—pizza in a cone—in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Craft and a friend went on a road trip to see the operation and tour the truck. Since 2 Fat Guys still had a catering food trailer, Craft had a head start.
The cone-making equipment, however, was made to order in China and took six to eight weeks to ship.
It was nerve-wracking to write checks, given he’d never made a pizza cone before.
But when the giant containers landed in his driveway, he was “like a kid in at Christmas,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to open them.
The cone that eats like a calzone
Craft’s machine makes four cones at once, and he freezes them when they’re about two-thirds cooked.
“I usually make 200 to 300 at a time,” he noted. He gets his dough from a Brooklyn company—“It’s fantastic!”
He also prepares, packages and freezes toppings in advance, including a special pepperoni that cups when cooked.
The cheese is a mix of low-moisture and whole milk, so it’s “a little bit melty and a little bit stringy,” he said.
To make a cone, Craft spoons three layers of cheese, sauce and toppings into the dough, which equals the weight of two pizza slices. The filled cones then go into a second machine.
“It eats kind of like a stromboli or calzone,” he explained.
Except, that is, for the open top. Diners can request a fork.
Working out the kinks
There were no instructions with the machines, and Craft learned through trial and error how long to cook the cones and at what temperature.
He did all of that while creating a website and social media presence.
Due to equipment delays, Craft came late to the 2023 summer food truck circuit.
But because so much of the food is prepared and stored, he can be ready to roll in 48 hours.
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Fortunately, he has a ready workforce. His three daughters help out.
“They make some money and enjoy it, and I enjoy being with them,” he said.
Now, Craft is booking breweries and festivals. While experienced vendors help him determine if a potential gig is lucrative, it can still be an unpredictable business.
“I’ve learned that in my almost 40 years in the hospitality industry,” he said. “You take the good with the bad. Sometimes you make money, and sometimes you don’t.”
And that, he concluded, is the nature of the beast.
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