The Wandering Dago food truck

wandering dago food truck schenectady

By Casey Normile

You might call Andrea Loguidice and Brandon Snooks a little crazy for leaving their jobs in law and marketing and moving from Denver, Colorado to Schenectady to open a food truck.

You might even call them a lot crazy.

But this couple -- one raised on a ranch in Montana, and the other a vegetarian from Long Island -- are excited to bring their Wandering Dago food truck to Schenectady.

wandering_dago_couple.jpg

So why Schenectady?

The couple moved cross-country to be closer to Andrea's family in Long Island, and looked upstate because of their love of the outdoors. They looked in other places such as Albany and Saratoga to start their business, but they say they got a somewhat-less-than-excited response. But when they went to the Schenectady city council meeting, not only were people excited about their idea, even the mayor met with them to discuss their plans. And they say they're now Schenectady's first food truck (in recent memory, at least).

"Schenectady is our city," says Andrea, "For us, it's the loyalty factor here and this city is growing. To be able to grow with the community as a small business is great."

Since moving to the area in June, the couple has been introducing themselves to anyone and everyone, making connections with other local businesses, and most importantly, introducing people to the idea of food trucks.

"People aren't familiar with food trucks here, so we're just handing out free samples, telling people what were about, and getting our name out there," says Brandon.

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New to the food business

Both of them are foodies and Brandon has always loved to cook, but neither of them worked in food business prior to Wandering Dago. So when it came time for their first night out as food-truckers, they inadvertently chose to dive in, head first. From the high dive.

"Our opening night was in mid-July for the Schenectady County Summer Night, which brought in about 7,000 people. We didn't prep anything, we had no idea what to expect and it was rough," says Brandon.

"It was an experience, we'll say that," adds Andrea.

"We laughed, we cried, I threw an onion at the wall, and I thought about just blowing the place up," Brandon continues, "But we learned a lot!"

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Trying to be different

"A lot of the local food trucks are closer to hot dog trucks," explains Brandon -- the food is fully prepped and handed to you. But he says Wandering Dago is trying to grow a West Coast-style food truck culture in the Capital Region.

"In Denver, the food they give you is fresh, chef inspired, with fresh ingredients, and that's what we want to do here," says Andrea.

The truck offers flatbread pizzas, fresh chopped salads, home-made (or as they call it, "truck-made") dressings, paninis, pasta dishes, and Italian-centered dishes including their signature Italian pulled pork and homemade pesto. They're also partnering with local companies such as Villa Italia for bread. And they were using their neighbors' tomatoes for their sauces this summer.

Click the menu board for a larger view.

wandering_dago_salad.jpg

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About the name...

If you're thinking "dago" sounds like a less-than-politically-correct nickname in some circles, you're right. But Andrea and Brandon say they didn't choose the term to stir up some controversy.

Brandon, who's Italian, explains that he knew the term as a word used for Italian immigrant workers back in the day who wanted to "be paid as the day goes." "Day-goes" became "dago." And in parts of Italian culture, he says the word has been reclaimed as a term of endearment.

Brandon and Andrea say they chose Wandering Dago "because we wander as the day goes."

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What's next

Right now, the couple says the food truck mostly caters to college students, but also has a few contracts in the works with local hospitals and schools.

"We don't want to park where we'd be stepping on anyone's toes," says Andrea.

So they're looking for spots with a lot of foot traffic where they wouldn't necessarily be cutting into a restaurant's business. They also plan to open up their menu to include more vegetarian options, and to feature guest chefs every once in a while so they can offer Indian or Greek specialties.

wandering_dago_exterior_low_angle.jpg

As for the winter, Andrea and Brandon don't seem too concerned. "I mean, you see younger people during the winter time right? They're out there walking in the snow in shorts and a hoodie. So I don't think they'll mind coming outside for some good food," says Brandon.

They also hope to implement an online ordering system so food is ready for their customers when they arrive at the truck, instead of waiting in the cold and snow.

"We're still going to sell food. I mean, we have a shovel," says Brandon.

If you're wondering where to find Wandering Dago, check their Twitter or Facebook feeds for locations and hours.

Earlier on AOA: Slidin' Dirty

Comments

Thanks for sharing! Sounds yummy! Bummed that they pulled a Dan Quail on their menu (tomatoe), but it is only chalk. Maybe you can give them a call? ; )

Dan Quayle. And it was potatoe.

I am lucky enough to work in Schenectady near one of the spots Wandering Dago parts. The pulled pork is amazing, and my co-workers rave about the brisket. Plus, I found them to be super friendly! Congratulations, guys!

How can we get that truck to visit the GE campus?

The WanderingDago needs to WANDER to Montana and serve us some good ol' Italian grub...Ive had the pleasure of eating supper prepared by Brandon and Andrea with pesto and all and mmmmm...mmm...mmm.... hats off to these chefs...Way to Go Brandon and Andrea. Keep up the good work! And, dont forget where Montana is! ;-)

Proud of you guys & glad others are recognizing you! Go, Dago, go!

Congrats Andrea and Brandon. You may remember me Andrea, I am nanny's daughter-in-law. Married to Louis. Lou and I wish you nothing but enormous success in your new business venture. If we are ever up in your neck of the woods will certainly stop by for some pulled pork(one of my favorites). Once again Good Luck and God Bless.

Looks amazing. But it's doubtful I'll ever get to try it. I want to know why Albany is so anti-food-truck. Not the people of Albany, but the county/zoning/whatever. The only place in the city, and possibly the county, that gets food trucks is the ESP during work days. The Wandering Dago or Slidin' Dirty would be perfect on, say, Lark Street on a summer weekend. You know, when residents are in the area, not just commuting state workers.

CONGRATULATIONS to the both of you! The truck looks amazing... And the food - WOW! What a grand adventure for you both! The best of luck to you!

"They looked in other places such as Albany and Saratoga to start their business, but they say they got a somewhat-less-than-excited response. But when they went to the Schenectady city council meeting, not only were people excited about their idea, even the mayor met with them to discuss their plans"

Way to go Albany!! Nice to hear that the city administration is turning away new business opportunities.

What a phenomenal adventure! The menu looks amazing and I second the thought that Montana would benefit greatly from a Wandering Dago truck...maybe when you are ready to grow the "fleet"! :) Congrats to you both & best of luck for much success!

Congrats Yall

This trend has been alive for years in other metros.
And like these guys, the food is fresh and interesting. Not nasty hotdog water.
My work takes me to DC a lot and they have killer food trucks. It's insane downtown at lunchtime... indian, vegan, greek, italian, vietnamese, hal al, it goes on...
My guess is the administrators are out of touch and thought these guys were going to create a health hazard because their idea of food truck = roach coach.
Maybe our civic leaders need to take a few field trips every once in awhile. Then they would understand how to create pedestrian/visitor friendly mixed use/commerce areas downtown instead of just bar after bar and encourage small businesses like these guys that bring people outside and out of their cars for a bite.
Break a leg Dagos! (i'm part italian and i love the name. Maybe that's why you got hassled.hmmm)

Who would we voice complaints to, to get food trucks authorized to set up in Washington Park next year? My dream is to see these trucks in my neighborhood while I'm actually home (meaning not workdays 9-5)

KM! Thanks for the laugh! Love it that I botched the veeps name in this context!

P.S. I am the world's worst speller. Unofficial, but I am confident I could win the contest if invited. In my defense, I knew the veep's error was potatoe, but the parallel is obvious.

Excellent food at a reasonable price. You just can't beat that!! Quesadilla was top notch. Looking forward to your next visit here; keep up the great work!! Kudos

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