Curtis Linam was so taken with the cooking of Vincent DePaul Tran that it led to a new career — food truck owner.
Tran operated a multisensory (audio, video, nine food courses) restaurant called Millicent Brasserie in Broken Arrow for a few years, which today takes private bookings only.
“My son had taken his girlfriend there, and then we went together a couple of times,” Linam said. “(Tran) recognized us, and we got to talking, and I asked what he could show me in the kitchen. I learned a lot from him, and my wife and I started thinking about a food truck.”
His wife, Victoria, grew up in McAlester, daughter of a Thai mother and American father.
“We ate Thai-American fusion all of the time,” Victoria said. “Then my step-mom is Turkish, so I’ve eaten a lot of things that a lot of people think is weird and love it. I’m not a picky eater.”
In addition to what the Linams absorbed from Millicent Brasserie and Victoria’s family background, they had one other influence.
“We had been looking to maybe buy the Meltdown Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck, but the owners sold it and opened a restaurant in west Tulsa a couple of months before we were ready,” Curtis said. “We found another truck, but we liked their food. We tested everything we offer with friends and family before making a final menu.”
Victoria said they adapted a sandwich Meltdown did for one of their burgers — the jalapeno popper burger ($10).
“It has become our No. 1 seller,” she said.
The burger includes bacon, jalapenos, five cheeses, seasoned cream cheese and a choice of toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup), and it is a tasty combination with a little kick to it.
We also tried a milder and just as flavorful sandwich — the chicken bacon guacamole ($10). It included chunks of smoked chicken, bacon, guacamole and a five-cheese blend.
Other popular items at Linam Up include the street tacos ($2 each) that come in two varieties. One includes chicken, onions, cilantro and house-made salsa, and the other features pulled pork, mango salsa, avocado and cheese.
“We smoke our own chicken and pork, too,” Victoria said.
Prices for all of the items include tax, a convenience for the Linams and their customers.
This promised to be a huge year for Linam Up Grill. It was booked to participate in Rocklahoma, a hard rock music festival, and the inaugural Born & Raised country music festival. Both were to be three-day events at Pryor Creek Music Festival Grounds near Pryor.
“The country festival was going to have Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr., but both were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Curtis said.
Instead, they have been working with HOAs to set up in neighborhoods and making regular stops at the Broken Arrow Brewing Co. near downtown Broken Arrow and the Westbound Club in west Tulsa.
One bright spot is coming up this week as the truck is scheduled to participate in the Bixby Green Corn Festival, set Thursday through Saturday, June 25-27, at Charley Young Event Park in Bixby.
“We just adapt and go on,” Curtis said. “Hopefully, one day we can get everything back to normal.”