Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

April 25, 2013

Gas industry gives Pa. stores taste for the South

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"It used to be you could only find a couple cans of salsa and a couple cans of black beans," he joked. "It has certainly been interesting kind of how everybody embraced that change and opportunities. ... It's nice to have that taste of home."

Richard Hoschar, owner of the Chef Hosch and Ann Catering Mobile Kitchen, does the usual catering work, including weddings. But lately he has made serving up Southern cooking to the gas workers a mainstay of his business. On a recent day in the gas fields, he ladled out jambalaya with sides of cornbread and banana pudding.

His pitch is making authentic cuisine on site. On this overcast afternoon, the pungent smell of jambalaya wafted out of the truck, and workers trickled over for lunch. Hoschar, of Williamsport, said he had his mobile kitchen designed for working gas drilling sites, some of which are rural enough to be difficult to get to.

"You have to have the right vehicles to get on site. I made sure that I met all the safety requirements," he said. "I'm licensed as a mobile restaurant. That's where I set myself apart."

Conversely, transplanted workers get a taste of different foods, too. The Williamsport area is full of mom-and-pop Italian restaurants.

"You can get pizza here that you can't get in Texas," Simon said. "That whole change has been nice for us."

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