Photo by Madoline Markham.
Chefs Mac Russell and Chad Schofield park their Shindigs truck in Mountain Brook Village on Mondays.
Life is simply too short to eat bad food.
In between school, work, carpools, lacrosse practice, dance team, tutoring and life we all need to eat. More and more of us are eating on the go and have less time to think about those three important meals.
Lucky for us, we have Shindigs Catering and Food Truck. Mac Russell and Chad Schofield are the two guys behind the Shindigs brand, which not only caters some of the best parties in town but also serves food five days a week from their traveling food truck, affectionately known as Miss Piggy.
First, let’s put away all notions of past mobile meals; this is no roach coach. Formally, they’ll tell you their goal is to create food that benefits and nourishes everyone it touches, with a menu that features fresh, seasonal ingredients and flavor combinations prepared simply yet creatively. Russell said they just want their food to “spank your tastebuds.” These two joke a lot, but their talent is serious.
The menu is always changing, but customers definitely have their favorites: the Willis Steak Panini, Salmon or Pork Burgers, Steamed Pork or Braised Short Rib Buns, the Vegan L.A. (as in “Lower Alabama”) Balls on Quinoa Salad. You’re beginning to get the idea that the Shindigs food truck is a restaurant on wheels. The kitchen is just a little bit smaller.
You can’t share a space that small without being able to get along well with others. Owners Russell and Schofield have known each other for so long, they finish one another’s sentences. Well, not exactly. Russell really does all the talking. He quips that he talks for both of them so that his more talented sidekick can crank out the delicious food. In reality, these are two very creative guys who started working side by side at Bud Skinner’s Jubilee Seafood in the Cloverdale area of Montgomery. They went on together to Ross Bridge, then Chris Hastings’ Hot & Hot Fish Club, and Standard Bistro in Mt Laurel (now Stone’s Throw, where they stage their food.)
On Mondays, you can always find them in Mountain Brook, usually parked on Heathermoor, adjacent to Mountain Brook Elementary. The spot is ideal since it provides ample free parking and shady space to set up their traveling picnic tables. The line forms quickly at 11:30 a.m. as post-tennis-playing moms, nearby office workers and everyone who loves great food queue up for their fix. Always-smiling Sarah Ellison takes orders on a paper ticket and hands it to the kitchen. She tallies orders on an iPhone and can run debit and credit cards from there too, all in a matter of minutes.
The food truck offerings are only the tip of the iceberg for what these guys can do with food. Their catered affairs are legendary in Mountain Brook. They recently did a Spanish-themed event, serving their interpretation of traditional Iberian tapas with Benton’s bacon and local produce. Their spin on surf-and- turf was termed reef-and-beef, featuring both a portion of flat-iron steak and seared salmon. That particular meal ended with Elvis’s Bread Pudding, which partygoers went nuts over.
This seems like a lot of work for just two guys from Selma (Russell) and Montgomery (Schofield), but they have a group of reliable rotating kitchen help and lots of loyal fans. And this is why Mountain Brook is so dear to them.
“Honestly, the truck is one of our biggest catering tools,” Russell said. “Not only can we serve from Miss Piggy at off- site events, but feeding people lunch every day helps us generate new clients. It is fun for people with potential catering jobs to come by the truck and try something we might serve at their wedding reception or husband’s surprise party. We love our Mountain Brook friends.”
It helps too that Russell’s wife, Lacey, works at nearby Village Dermatology, and his in-laws, Vicky and Dave Rader, are Mountain Brook residents.
So set that reminder on your phone’s calendar to stop by Miss Piggy next Monday. You can follow Shindigs on Facebook and Twitter to see where they’ll be other days and read their complete menu as it changes with the seasons. They even have a handy iPhone app you can download to find them faster. Now that is some serious tastebud spanking.
Christiana Roussel lives in Crestline and enjoys all things food-related. Follow her culinary musings online at ChristianasKitchen. com or on Facebook or Twitter (Christiana40)