TRAVERSE CITY — Simon Joseph spent the past two years building his brand-on-wheels — the boxy uniform delivery truck he remodeled into Roaming Harvest, a rolling kitchen and restaurant.
Cramped inside the green, gray and gold 1999 Chevy box truck, Joseph turned a lifetime of food business experience into something bigger — all built on a few basic principles. Joseph constructed the Roaming Harvest brand on conscientious local sourcing of ingredients, good food in modest portions and constant change.
"The last few years have been a wild ride," Joseph said. "For a long time, I resisted the idea of having a restaurant. I'm just doing what I do and I really like it."
Joseph and his wife, Traverse City native and CPA Rebecca Brown, opened Roaming Harvest in July 2012. They set down roots earlier this month with Harvest, a brick-and-mortar offshoot of the original rolling restaurant.
The small cafe, shoehorned into a small alley-facing garage between Front and State streets near Union Street, features a menu food truck fans will recognize. The small dining room features basic wood and metal decor and no table-side service. A large logo of "Old #12" — an ode to the food truck that gave birth the to the restaurant — hangs over a table along the west wall.
A small sign that reads "EAT" in white letters beckons passersby on Union Street as does the aroma of brazing short ribs and Joseph's adventurous flavor combinations.
"We don't have table service, although we do have nice stools," Joseph said with a grin to a few nearby customers who devoured plates of Korean beef tacos that became a mainstay of the Roaming Harvest menu. "We're taking what we're saving there and putting it into the food."