MIdland BUrger Company
Truffle duxelles, pickled carrots, marinated cabbage — that’s right, a burger-serving food truck is coming to town.
Chef Jim Welch and his wife, Ashley, are crafting plans for Midland Burger Co. They plan to set up in late March or April at the Farmers Market and in the downtown area, and possibly at Midland High School during lunch.
“We’re willing to be where people are interested in having us,” Ashley said.
$9 burgers on the menu so far include:
• “Truffle Duxelle Burger”: truffle duxelles, greens, mushrooms, shallots
• “Cabbage Patch”: marinated cabbage and garlic aioli
• “‘Merica”: lettuce, pickle, ketchup, mustard, American slice
• “Pork Belly” (“A burger so unique, we had to give it it’s own dedicated space.”): pickled carrot, orange Dijon, arugula
• “Veggie Burger”: lentils, rolled oats, chimichurri
The 7-ounce burgers come with a side of hand-cut French fries. The duo says the burgers are made with meat ground daily. They plan to always have a vegetarian and basic American burger, while rotating three to four other creations and featuring one every week.
“Every day he makes me a burger and asks me what I think about it,” Ashley said of Jim. “I like the Cabbage Patch, that’s been my favorite since day one. I love the crunch.”
They’re working with different farms and vendors in the area to locally source toppings as often as possible. The buns, with a gluten-free option, are sourced from a local bakery, Ashley said.
The food truck also plans to serve four varieties of poutine, a popular Canadian comfort dish typically consisting of French fries, cheese curds and gravy. Two already on the menu are: “Brisket Poutine”: red-eye gravy, cheddar curds ($6); and “Bahn Mi Poutine”: pickled carrot, radish, jalapeno, sriracha ($6).
“We’re trying to bring things we know we enjoy,” Ashley said.
Another rarity on the menu: Faygo. The Welches plan to serve the Michigan brand’s “Rock & Rye,” “Moon Mist” and its diet counterpart, along with orange, cream soda and regular and diet colas.
There are also two salad items on the initial menu, including the “Buckwheat,” which blends a spring mix with apple, avocado, sweet lemon vinaigrette, pepitas and dried Michigan cherries. A morning menu is planned for early birds at the Farmers Market, including breakfast sandwiches, fruit cups and yogurt. At the business website — www.MidlandBurgerCompany.com — patrons will have the option to order and pay online.
The Welches plan to start Midland Burger Co. on their own, with Jim handling the grill and Ashley handling customer service. While writing the business plan, Ashley said they did a lot of research on food trucks.
“The key demographic seems to be the 25 to 45 age group,” Ashley said, noting younger and working individuals tend to be interested. “There aren’t that many food trucks in Midland. We think it’s kind of a fun idea.”
She said they’d like to serve 100 burgers a day at the start.
Jim Welch had been a chef at Whine since it opened in January 2012. He was named best chef in the Midland Daily News’ Readers’ Choice Awards in 2015 and 2016. He also gained an accolade from Great Lakes Bay Magazine, which named him among the “Greatest of the Lakes Bay 2016.”
He decided he wanted to do his own thing, and a food truck “would probably be the easiest way to start out,” due to low overhead and a flexible location, Ashley said.
“We’re just trying to get out there and bring a good burger to Midland,” Ashley said. “You can get regular burgers, you can get frozen burgers, but you can’t really get a fresh burger that’s out of the normal.”
Jim said he is excited to bring fresh, local options to people.
“We have a lot of freedom for creativity,” Welch told the Daily News in 2015 at Whine. “We get to play around with things and come up with things that are different from everywhere else.”
From the look of the new Midland Burger Co. menu, Welch is still a kid in the sandbox on a summer afternoon.
Jim, 36, and Ashley, 33, a Realtor, live in Midland with 4-year-old and 8-year-old sons. Visit www.MidlandBurgerCompany.com for more information.