Thursday was the Beef Shack's first day in Perry Hall. By the early afternoon, the food truck had served only about four customers.
But from the parking lot of the BP gas station at 8809 Belair Road, owner Chris Davis said he envisions crowds of customers—all in due time.
"I'll have to get some more signs," he said. "Once everybody tries it, they're going to love it."
Open Thursdays through Sundays, the Beef Shack's menu includes just four items: pit beef, pit turkey, pit ham and boardwalk french fries.
Wearing a black bandana and a T-shirt with cut-off sleeves, the 33-year-old Davis admits he is not the Orioles first baseman who shares his name. A small American flag flies from his food truck.
Davis recently decided to move his truck from Baldwin to Perry Hall with the hope that higher traffic will bring higher sales. His family formerly owned Valley Wine Shop on Long Green Pike, that included a deli, groceries and liquor store.
"We were having tough times with the economy, so before we decided to sell the store, and I just went out and bought the food truck," he said.
Mobile food vendors are on the rise in cities nationwide, the Wall Street Journal reports, and are even threatening some established brick and mortar restaurants.
Davis said his intent with the food truck is simply to help support his family.
For about nine months, near the store in Badwin, Davis had sold cheesesteak subs, burgers and sandwiches. "But it was too complicated. Everybody wants pit beef. That's all I sold over there," he said.
Davis said he only uses premium ingredients: "We use top round—it's a little more expensive."
Otherwise, he's trying to keep costs down. The BP gas station owner, a regular customer back in Baldwin, has offered him a low daily ground rent, he said.
"She's been telling me to come up here for months," he said. "I finally gave in."