Beef Shack Parks in Perry Hall, Battles 'Tough' Economy

The food truck owner plans to serve pit beef at 8809 Belair Road, Thursdays through Sundays.

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 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."

Linda August 09, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Good luck Chris! So many of us in Baldwin are sorry that VW and your family are gone.
Living Large 4 Less In Baltimore August 09, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Chris contact us. We can help you promote your business at no upfront cost to you: www.LivingLarge4LessInBaltimore.com & check out our new blog at: www.LivingLargeForLessInBaltimore.com
Cassandra Alt August 09, 2012 at 10:16 PM
My mouth is watering. I will have to hunt you down and grab some grub! Gonna post this on FB so the word gets out!
DS August 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Don't advertise too much - OWEmalley will slap a pit beef tax on ya
FIFA August 10, 2012 at 12:59 AM
OWE so smart. You can't do better than that? Next boat for you to China.
Tim August 10, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Hope your business works out. I seem to recall a couple other pit beef trucks in the area of Bel air road..but maybe they are gone now.
JD1 August 10, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Best of luck Chris - looking forward to stopping by and giving my cardiologist some business! Better listen to DS!! MOM has a special place in his wallet for working stiffs.
CR August 10, 2012 at 04:28 AM
The naked bull seemed to do pretty well and I don't think he closed up because of lack of business. The land owner cashed in and it's a Firestone now.
Murph August 10, 2012 at 10:38 AM
I used to go to the Naked Bull and now it's great to have you Chris. I wish you nothing but the best. You took great initiative to start your business and you do deserve nothing but success. I am looking forward to being your customer. Also thank you to the BP station owner for supporting Chris on his new endeavor. Patrick
Rose August 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM
My son in-law (culinary trained chef) tried the food truck business. He was even in the Foodnetwork's best truck competition. It's a hard way to make a living. So many unexpected costs. Good luck to you and yours.
Rose August 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Keeping your menu small is the best way to go.
Murph August 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Excellent point Rose! That will help keep the business easier to manage.
John August 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM
That's for sure!
Rose August 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM
These trucks have to be licensed and have all the permits of a restaurant. My son in-law had to rent a commercial kitchen to prep his food & use their water (health department). These costs take a toll on your final numbers. Get 'em hooked on the best pit beef sandwich in the area. Keep your oil clean for the crispiest fries. They'll come back for more! I'll be there. Like to help the little guy, especially a hard working one. And, believe me, to run a food truck is hard work, when done right.
Ed Roberts August 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM
FIFA You are an ass!!!
Murph August 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Rose, I assume the food trucks are inspected like the restaurants, am I correct?
Tim August 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM
ahh yeah, it was the Naked Bull I knew of. There was another in the Sears lot I thought, though. I'm sure this guy's pit beef is awesome too. Just my initial thought was oversaturation, you know, like drug stores. Unlike drug stores though, I hope this gentleman's business exceeds his expectations!
Tim August 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Rose: Thanks for sharing this information. Who knew???
Tim August 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Wow, name calling. Very intellectual.
JD1 August 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Seems that's the natural course of things here if you disagree with someone's point of view especially if you tend to lean right.
Dottie Cordwell August 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM
When we want pit beef we were going to Fast Freddie's in Fallston. Chris will be closer. I like supporting small local businesses. I will share this story on FaceBook and Twitter. Good luck and I will be seeing you Chris.
Murph August 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I used to go to Fast Eddies and the last time I went there the beef was not as good as it used to be. Then the guy with Naked Bull opened his spot where the Firestone Car Care place now sits, then he went out of business. I hope Chris' business is successful and he'll be around a long time.
Carol August 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Good luck with your business. We will swing by & try it out.
Rose August 10, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Hey, hey, hey! No name calling. Just shows a lack of vocabulary. Maybe a yummy pit beef sammy from Chris would put us all in a better mood :)
Cindy Collins August 10, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Just had lunch there. Wonderful...Support the same business guy!
Vicki Rummel August 28, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Where's the truck already?


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