A former Maine chef is parking his food truck in Camas and Washougal, and offering fresh lobster rolls, grilled crab cakes and fish and chips.
Jess Herndon, a Vancouver native who lived in Maine for almost a decade before returning to the Pacific Northwest, started his new business, Coast to Coast Fresh Eats & Catering, in July 2018. Herndon, his son, Zach, and another employee, RJ Severin, can often be found serving lunch from the parked food truck near Camas Produce, 2940 N.E. Everett St., Camas.
Herndon, 44, thought it would be “a neat idea” to bring New England home-cooked meals to this area.
“It is New England shore food, New England street food,” he said.
Menu options include lobster stew, New England clam chowder and haddock (fish) sandwiches. Some of the dishes are gluten-free.
Options for children include Tillamook cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches, beef hot dogs and sliders.
Herndon said the inside of the food truck is designed like a normal kitchen, with a freezer and two refrigerators. A distributor delivers seafood twice a week to the Coast to Coast truck.
Herndon does some of the food preparation in a commissary, which also is used by other food truck businesses, including those that sell lunches at the Vancouver Farmers Market.
Living on two different coasts
Herndon met his wife, Janasa, through friends when he was a student at Portland State University. A Maine native, Janasa’s family includes lobstermen and shipbuilders.
Herndon worked as a deckhand on a lobster boat in Maine for about five years, before he became a caterer, and then he and Janasa owned a deli and grocery store on Maine’s mid-coast that served sandwiches and soups.
Herndon, a graduate of Western Culinary Institute in Portland, has been in the culinary industry for at least 15 years.
He stepped away from cooking for five years to work as an account manager for restaurants and grocery stores.
“I never really walked away from the food industry,” Herndon said. “I was on the distribution side of it instead of cooking. I went back into the kitchen in 2018, when I bought the truck.”
Herndon has advice for anyone thinking of opening a food-truck business.
“Make sure you love it, because there will be lots of long hours,” he said. “You’ve got to love what you do.”
The Coast to Coast food truck can usually be found in the Camas Produce parking lot from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, as well as from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Thursday.