Tim Lorber’s advice is to “go where the people go.”
It is this mindset that has lead the 1993 Temple alumnus to bridal showers, baby showers, festivals and now his alma mater’s with his month-old food truck, BabyCakes.
The colorful cart, which barely fits Lorber, one other employee and a copper grill, has been producing small cakes of all kinds, following recipes from many different cultures.
“The focus is not meat-intensive, which a majority of trucks are,” Lorber said.
Lorber is a graduate of the school of education and taught for four years in Philadelphia, Coatesville and Guam, where he taught English for a year. After returning to the U.S., he sold software in Old City for eight years.
“I just wanted to try something new – the food cart business, try my hand in the center city lottery,” Lorber said.
While Lorber was not lucky enough to grab one of the available spots in Center City, he saw Main Campus as an opportunity.
Lorber said food trucks were just as prominent in the food scene 21 years ago when he was a student, because Broad Street did not offer the dining choices it does now.
While much of Temple’s food truck scene has remained the same, Lorber said he noticed more diversity in the food served and customers attracted.
Lorber teamed up with a food safety instructor to learn the basics of cooking in such a small space.
Some of the cakes featured include ingredients like chives, sour cream and crabmeat, while others satisfy a sweet tooth, like funnel cakes and poffertjes, a Pennsylvania Dutch treat similar to breakfast pancakes.
“People seemed very interested, because it’s a different sort of snack,” Lorber said.
Devon Cook, a Community College of Philadelphia student, who recently started working alongside Lorber, said he is pursuing a degree in culinary arts.
“I’m just learning today, but eventually this is what I want to do,” Cook said.
Lorber teamed up with Old City designer Sean Martorana to create the graphic appearance of the truck, which Lorber said has attracted much of their business.
Lorber and his truck recently served at the Dance on the Falls Bridge festival where about 600 people were in attendance.
“As we’re branding, getting our name out there, we follow the people,” he said.
While Lorber is enjoying the use of his two current trucks, the small Center City cart and the larger festival cart, he wants to eventually expand to have a BabyCakes truck in each neighborhood.
“That is the goal,” Lorber said. “People like to see new things, and we’ve got that.”
Paige Gross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org