Food cart sets up shop

Published 9:07 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Under the shelter of a yellow and red umbrella and a shade tree within walking distance from Global Refining Group, America Bluesky Lumber and ABC Recycling, Gentry Janey, of Kenbridge, readies for the lunch crowd.

He grills six burgers, 10 Italian sausages and a dozen hot dogs, and keeps the ingredients — sliced tomatoes and lettuce for the burgers and

glazed onions and bell peppers for the Italian sausage — in separate metal containers.

He keeps the ingredients on a cart, set with a grill, a 5-gallon water storage unit, a cleaning and sanitizing sink and drinks in a separate cooler close to the cart.

Janey opened his food cart recently in Kenbridge, and he hopes to give folks a convenient place to take a lunch break or enjoy a novelty experience.

“It’s portable; it’s just like you would see in Richmond,” Janey said.

The cart sells hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, chips, drinks, and on certain days, pulled pork sandwiches.

Janey said he would change the menu items seasonally and will offer catering to different locations, events and community yard sales and flea markets.

He said his most frequent stops in town have been in a vacant area beside Hawthorne & Hawthorne and across the street from the Ripberger Public Library on South Broad Street.

Janey, 58, said he was inspired to open the cart after declining health had prompted him to leave his decades-long career in construction.

“Doctors don’t want me to work anymore,” Janey said, citing back injuries that prompted his exit from construction. “I had to have something to do.”

He said he has always enjoyed good food, having judged barbecue for the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Janey said he had frequently traveled for work, living in Mississippi during the advent of Hurricane Katrina and had recently moved back to Virginia from New Mexico. Janey said he was a native of Giles County.

Janey said being in the Kenbridge area lets him be close to his mother, who is becoming older.

“I enjoy cooking and have always cooked,” Janey said. “That’s what gave me the idea.”

Janey, in addition to operating the food cart, also is a full-time student at Liberty University studying religion and Christian counseling.

“It’s a way for me to make a living,” Janey said.

He said he purchased the cart in Tennessee from a company called Ben’s Carts. For those uncertain about food cart quality, Janey said the cart has been licensed by the state health department and is licensed by the Town of Kenbridge.

“I get inspected by the health inspector just like every other restaurant in town,” Janey said.

Attorney Bob Hawthorne, who rented the space beside the law office for Janey and who ordered a cheeseburger, said the visit to the cart was worth the trip.

“I went across town to get here,” Hawthorne said. “That should say something.”

A few employees of Global Refining Group and ABC Recycling came out for a quick meal.

Employee Colby Beach ordered an Italian sausage and a hot dog with ketchup, and said the cart gives people a convenient place to go for a special kind of meal.

“I saw the truck down here and my boss said he really misses this kind of food,” Beach said.

Looking up, Janey saw a few vehicles park near the Global building and step out, looking for a good meal.

“It’s lunchtime,” Janey said, smiling before he gets to work. “I love it.”