Hungry Bros. Food Truck (Profile)

Hungry Bros. food truck sells fried pies and waffle fries

May 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm

new food truck called Hungry Bros. has been satiating Cincinnatians with fried fruit pies and waffle fries since starting its engine on Opening Day. The truck is run by real-life brothers (not necessarily “bros”) PJ and Matt Neumann, along with their buddy Mike Mandell-Brown (yes, his father is the famed local plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Mandell-Brown, whose billboard can be seen on I-71). 

On a typical Thursday or weekend evening in “brOTR,” their ’95 Grumman truck is parked in front of Rhinehaus sports bar from around 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. So far, their menu has consisted of sweet and savory delicacies. For the savory: Vladimir Poutine, featuring lamb and onion gravy doused on top of waffle fries and topped with Wisconsin-sourced cheese curds, and Bill Murray Chicken Curry, with sweet potato waffle fries covered in red coconut chicken curry. And for the sweet: Dutch apple pies (granny smith apple filling, caramel sauce, cinnamon streusel, vanilla ice cream) and waffle fry sundaes, aka decadent waffle fries topped with chocolate sauce, powdered sugar and milk chocolate ice cream to mimic the childhood technique of dipping fries into a Wendy’s Frosty. 

The best part about their service is the quick cooking time, which doesn’t frequently happen at OTR eateries — especially at 3 a.m. “The wait for our food is between two to four minutes,” PJ says. 

The Bros.’ most popular request is for poutine, a French Canadian drunk food made with fries, gravy and cheese curds that some Cincinnatians cannot pronounce. “We’re still having people walk up and they go, ‘I’ll have the ‘pow-tin’ [actually pronounced poo-teen],” PJ says. “I’ve spent a lot of time educating people on our menu and our ideas and our concept. While we know what’s good and what’s not, you really have to cater to your audience.”

“It’s really great to see people’s eyes light up when you actually get to talk about the ingredients,” Mandell-Brown says. “And they connect the culinary-driven aspect of the truck to the truck, and they’re realizing we’re not just doing burgers.” 

Before starting the food truck, PJ and Matt lived in Portland, Ore., where Matt attended the Oregon Culinary Institute. Both Cincy natives, PJ moved back to town in 2004 and got a finance degree from Xavier; Matt moved back home in 2012. PJ felt bored with his hedge fund analyst job, he says, so last August he floated the food truck idea by Matt. They discovered their friend Mandell-Brown was also looking to do a food truck, so the three joined forces. 

“I’m not great at cooking,” PJ says. “I’m glad my brother is, and he’s terrible at numbers. We have incredibly complementary skill sets, the three of us.” 

Mandell-Brown went through the culinary arts program at  The Art Institute of Ohio – Cincinnati, then did stints in the corporate restaurant world, most recently as a sous chef and now a server at P.F. Chang’s. 

“It was phenomenal timing how everything just came together,” he says. 

They knocked around names like Pientology to highlight their fried pies, but thought, “What if people don’t like our pies?” PJ says. “If we’re branded as Pientology, we have to make pies. We started thinking of names that stripped any type of branding. We’re all brothers and we’re all hungry, so we’re Hungry Brothers.”

Mandell-Brown says his dad has been supportive of his endeavor. “Having the name is great, but I want to do my own thing in Cincinnati,” he says. “It’s nice to be recognized for doing something else.” 

The guys already have a few events lined up this summer: City Flea in May, Bunbury in June and the Kings Island Food Truck Fest in July. So far everything’s going well for them, but they’re frustrated with Cincy’s mobile vending program and think it needs to expand, allowing trucks to operate out of more locations. 

“We want to generate awareness in the city for food trucks, to let people know that you can walk up to a food truck window and eat something that’s been made from scratch,” PJ says.

In the future, they plan on developing some non-pie, non-fry concepts, but in the meantime they’re basking in the food truck glow. 

“We did it,” PJ says. “We had this idea in August, and now we have our food truck — especially something as fringe-y as food trucking in a town like Cincinnati. It’s not the most progressive town, and to be doing something like food trucking is unreal.” 

Follow HUNGRY BROS. on Facebook or Twitter 
(@hungrybroscincy) to see where they are and what kind of fried treats they’re serving.