New grilled cheese food truck opens in Aztec

Owner of Pretty Tasty food truck is among group of business owners who have expressed interest in forming an association of local food truck operators

Joshua Kellogg
Frances "Jean" Stein, owner of the Pretty Tasty food truck, prepares an order on Thursday at the truck, which is parked in the same lot as Vanilla Moose off Aztec Boulevard.

AZTEC — Frances "Jean" Stein wanted to serve up something different for San Juan County residents.

And her Pretty Tasty food truck does just, offering a menu that includes a number of unique grilled cheese sandwiches. Among the creations Stein sells are a pastrami sandwich with Swiss and provolone cheeses and another with pepper jack and Colby Jack cheeses and jalapeno poppers.

Stein opened the business one week ago in the same parking lot as Vanilla Moose off Aztec Boulevard. Already, she said, she has had a steady stream of customers.

"It’s great," she said in an interview last week. "My heart is in this, and it shows in my food. My intent is to make people happy and bellies full."

From left, Laurel Thorne, an assistant at the Pretty Tasty food truck in Aztec, and the business' owner, Frances "Jean" Stein, stand for a portrait on Thursday.

Stein is also one of several business owners who have expressed interest in forming a local food truck association to foster the growing industry in San Juan County. 
Earlier this year, the city of Farmington started allowing mobile vendors in certain city park, and, now the city of Aztec is reviewing a similar proposal.

Stein said she wanted to be her own boss after she was laid off in March from a job in the oil field. Since then, she has been working to obtain business licenses and permits to operate in Arizona and Colorado.

About 20 years ago, Stein operated a restaurant in Wilcox, Ariz., that sold sandwiches and cashew chicken salad, which she now offers on a croissant at the Pretty Tasty food truck.

Pretty Tasty also sells breakfast burritos all day, as well as homemade cheesecake, cookies, lemonade and frozen dill pickle juice. The idea for the frozen concoction, which is sold as an ice pop, came from teenagers who attended a tasting event Stein hosted for friends and family.

“I wanted to be different than everyone else in town,” Stein said.

One of the items that Frances "Jean" Stein sells at her new Pretty Tasty food truck is a cashew chicken salad sandwich served on a croissant.

While she wants her business to be unique, Stein also sees the value of working with other local food truck operators. At a meeting April 7 at the Quality Center for Business at San Juan College, Stein and several food truck owners discussed forming a new food truck business association.

Stein said she has already received requests to operate at both public and private events. She said an association could help food truck owners book events and share advice about best practices for their businesses.

A meeting to discuss forming an association will take place at 5:30 p.m. May 5 at the Quality Center for Business on the college's main campus in Farmington.

“We had a lot of enthusiasm for the idea,” said Judy Castleberry, director of the college’s Enterprise Center.

The city of Farmington will also organize a meet-up for local food trucks at a city park in June, said Cory Styron, director of the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.

Brandon Baker and his daughter, Brooklyn, enjoy lunch on Thursday from the Pretty Tasty food truck in Aztec. The business opened a week ago.