Hunter House Food Extravaganza has had several incarnations over the past few years. Richard Hunter opened the business as a food truck about four years ago. Then he and his wife Lereatha decided to try their hands at turning the business into a brick and mortar restaurant. They set up shop in downtown Dover and gave it a shot.
After just a year, however, they closed their doors. The building, which was located on West Loockerman, may be gone but Hunter House Food Extravaganza is still rolling on. The business has reverted back to a food truck.
Richard Hunter hasn’t always been a cook. He began his career in the kitchen as his mother’s taste tester. He’s always been surrounded by cooks. His mother and sisters run a catering business in Boston. Richard developed a passion for cooking when he started whipping up holiday feasts for his family.
“My wife has a large family,” Richard said. “They were always coming over to the house for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays. They were always eating my food and always said how good it was. So I told my wife I was going to buy a trailer and start selling food.”
Hunter House Food Extravaganza is a weekend hobby for Richard, who works at Walmart’s distribution center in Smyrna during the week. The truck isn’t the family’s main source of income so the Hunters just have fun with it, he said.
“It’s not really a whole lot of pressure,” he said. “Having extra money is always good, but we do it for the fun mostly. We don’t do it for a source of income. We do it for the love.”
Richard Hunter has taken his love for cooking and used it to give Hunter House’s food his own signature flavor. He has carefully developed seasonings for the food truck’s fried fish and chicken, as well as putting his own twist on some classics like curry and jerk chicken.
He’s also serving up one of his family’s signature dishes called a soul roll. His mother and sisters began stuffing egg roll wrappers with meat, vegetables and seasonings for their catering business. They’re currently trying to patent the recipe, but they allowed Richard to recreate the recipe for his food truck.
Lereatha pitches in with the cooking, as well. She typically prepares the desserts and side dishes for the truck, Richard said. Some of the truck’s sides include potato salad and macaroni and cheese. Lereatha is also known for whipping up banana pudding, cakes and pies, Richard said.
Page 2 of 2 - Aside from their signature soul roll, fish and sides, the food truck also serves up a challenge. They offer a mammoth fish sandwich topped with waffle fries and coleslaw called “The Truth.”
“Because you can’t handle ‘The Truth,’” Richard said.
The Truth is a challenge sandwich. Competitors are given one hour to polish off the monster meal. Anyone who finishes “The Truth” is refunded the cost of the sandwich, given a T-shirt commemorating their win and gets the opportunity to rename the dish. So far no one has completed the task, Richard said.
Anyone interested in taking the challenge can call Hunter House Food Extravaganza and let Richard know they’re interested. Once several challengers have signed up, Hunter House will host a group challenge.
If you’re out looking for the truck, you’ll want to note that its location changes from time to time. For six weeks beginning at the end of September Hunter House Food Extravaganza moves their operation up to Ramsey’s Farm in Wilmington for the farm’s you-pick pumpkin season. But for anyone who wants to find the food truck this weekend, you can head up to Berks Tires, where the truck will start serving food at noon.
Regardless of where the truck’s parked, Hunter House Food Extravaganza’s goal is to keep their customers full and happy, Richard said.
“We have a unique way of seasoning our food to bring out the flavors,” Richard said. “I love to see people’s faces when they taste something that is good to them.”