Serving classic roadside burgers from a 1974 Airstream hauled from Colorado has proved a winning recipe for a trio of restaurant entrepreneurs
by Matt Scanlon
After rolling out its vintage 1974 Airstream for the first time last summer, Mister Dips—the brainchild of chef Andrew Carmellini, executive chef Anthony Ricco, and pastry chef Jason Casey—found a willing streetside audience in Vale Park, a 15,000-square-foot public green space overlooking the Williamsburg waterfront. Serving a stripped-down menu of “dairy dip” ice cream, burgers, and waffle fries, its simplicity became a novel food truck (though in this instance, food trailer) concept in a neighborhood that’s becoming increasingly populated by street fare. Mister Dips quickly became a destination.
For the two months the Airstream was open last year, Carmellini served his griddle burgers, fries (“both plain and dirty dipped,” he said), and a list of playful dairy dips such as “Jacker Crax,” “Malter Cronkite,” and “Hawaii 5-0.” Asked about the bravery of such simplicity, he explained that the spare selection was deliberate, and will largely remain.
“We just wanted to make a classic roadside burger with great ingredients,” he explained. “It was really that simple. Given that we were only in business for a short time last year, this will be our first season fully open. I have 100 things I’d like to add to the menu, but all in due time.”
First teaming with James Beard Award-winning chef Carmellini to open A Voce in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park in 2006, Luke Ostram is now his partner (along with Josh Pickard) in NoHo Hospitality Group, which owns/operates The Library at The Public, Lafayette, Bar Primi, and Evening Bar Westlight, and is now heading food and beverage operations for the nearby William Vale hotel.
Asked why he and his partners went to the trouble of buying the Airstream through Wheat Ridge, CO-based Timeless Travel Trailers and then having it journey across the country on a trailer bed before being positioned in the green space, Ostrom explained that, “We love the classic Americana design of the trailer against the backdrop of William Vale’s modern architecture and the park. A bit of old and new, and it felt like a fun home to sling some great burgers. Plus, being off the busy streetscape, it allows for the experience to feel a bit removed from the regular day-to-day chaos of the city. It is meant to be communal, public, interactive and fun.”
Closed for the winter season, the trailer will re-open in April.
111 N. 12th Street / misterdips.com