Nov. 19, 2015 By Michael Florio
An Astoria street food staple will soon graduate from food cart to food truck.
The famous Franky’s Souvlaki food cart has been operating on the corner of Steinway Street and 31st Avenue since the 1970s, and is now looking to upgrade into a food truck, according to owner Franky Englezos.
The food truck would replace the cart, but remain at Steinway Street and 31st Avenue. The timetable for this switch is still being worked out, but Englezos said it would occur by January.
Englezos said the business remains his passion, but as he gets older, the weather conditions in the winter are beginning to take their toll on him. Therefore, he decided to get a food truck to help deal with the elements.
“The past few winters have been very tough on us,” he said.
The cart often operates in debilitating cold, snow and freezing rain, according to Englezos.
“The truck will give us some kind of shelter,” he said.
The menu will remain the same, serving a variety of souvlaki, pita sandwiches, hero sandwiches and platters, such as chicken souvlaki with rice and salad. It also serves hot dogs, sausages and Greco sandwiches.
However, Englezos plans to add items to the menu once the transition to the food truck occurs, such as putting French fries on the menu full time. He is also considering adding a Greek-style burger once or twice a week and chicken breast over a salad.
The truck will continue to operate with the same hours, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Englezos is hopeful that the transition to the food truck will be a smooth one. He said the bulk of his customers will know that they are making the switch, but hopes others do not assume that Franky’s has changed hands.
He said some of his customers are excited for the change, but the majority are comfortable with the food cart and may not be a fan of it initially.
“I don’t think they will like the change at first, but they will get used to it,” he said. “If the food continues to be up to our standards, I think they won’t mind.”
Englezos’ father George opened the cart in the 1970s selling hot dogs. He quickly began selling shish kebabs and transitioned into what the menu is today. Englezos and his brothers now run the business.