A new deluxe food truck on Schenectady’s Northside – Crazy House Barbecue – is serving up homemade food at a time when the pandemic has done a job on dining out for both sitdown restaurants and walk-up food trucks.
But, city residents Gladys and Thomas Fogarty saw an opportunity and opened their new food truck on Maxon Road Extension where they are both cooking and serving homemade barbecue and other delicacies from their mobile kitchen.
Their Crazy House Barbecue is one of only 32 active mobile permits in Schenectady County which covers food trucks, carts, and trailers. After a tedious bureaucratic process and an intricate inspection, the Fogartys were able to secure the necessary permits to become fully licensed.
Though both Thomas and Gladys prepare the food, Thomas maintains that Gladys is the face of the operation. The entirety of Crazy House Barbecue’s menu is prepared by the couple. The Fogartys make a wide assortment of meals, though their in store menu changes daily.
“Breakfast is consistent, we make sausage, ham, bacon, egg and cheese daily. Lunch is always new. Pulled pork is a community favorite though we make brisket, smoked pulled chicken, various sandwiches, salads, baked beans and more,” Gladys said. The Fogartys said their barbecue is more flavorful than most because of the rare and unique method they use.
“Our food isn’t cooked with any propane, charcoal or gasoline. We leave all our food and homemade rubs to marinate overnight, then smoke them using applewood only. It creates an amazing quality unlike the usual burnt or broiled taste. I find it funny because my wife doesn’t eat barbecue, but she’ll eat hers,” Thomas said.
Crazy House Barbecue is open seven days a week, with an early start time of 7:30 a.m. and an afternoon closing of 2:30 p.m. The couple is seeking to expand their hours to cover dinner meals as they introduce their new half-rack smoked rib dinner. “We are not looking to hurt anyone’s pockets, we’d like to do something for the community. A full meal which includes a sandwich, side of your choosing, and a drink is $12 and we have smaller portions as well.” says Gladys.
Gladys has long participated in the restaurant industry. An Albany native, Gladys has been involved in the food service industry for 30 years working a multitude of jobs, including a several-year stint at Fort Drum working for the Department of Labor. In 2005, Gladys held a position with KBR, a global engineering, construction, technology and services company, where she worked in Iraq, serving food to United States soldiers. There was a twinkle in her eye as Gladys spoke about her current accomplishments and what she had to overcome to get to this place.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life. For years I’ve dreamed of owning my own restaurant. I was in a serious motorcycle accident, but I’m alright now. I appreciate my husband so much for helping me put this together,” Gladys said.
Thomas, a retired electrician from Troy, personally handmade the entire Crazy House Barbecue mobile kitchen. The Crazy House interior is equipped with tiling, ventilation, dual sinks, a refrigerator, and multiple burners all attached to an external generator.
“Everything’s handmade from the signs to the carriage. This is my wife’s baby, I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Thomas said.
The couple began their mobile food endeavor this past June during the Harley Rendezvous Classic, an annual three-day event that attracts bikers from all over the country. The event took place at the Indian Lookout Country Club in Pattersonville and proved successful for the Fogartys’ well-received barbecue offerings. The reception spurred the Fogartys into vigorously pursuing a permanent location for their establishment. They canvassed neighborhoods in their hometown of Schenectady to find a more permanent location for their food truck.
They found a home at Fratelli Fabrication Inc., a commercial metal fabrication company located on Maxon Road Extension.
“Thank God for those boys. They recognized we had a dream and were kind enough to help us make it happen.” said Gladys.
The Bogdon brothers, Dante and Dylan, owners and operators of Fratelli Fabrication, allowed the Fogartys to park their mobile kitchen on their lot.
“They’re nice people and the food is good, really good,” said Dante.
“They don’t have us pay them anything yet. If we start doing well in a couple of months we’ll be able to give them a portion of the proceeds.” Gladys said. “We feed them breakfast and lunch every day because we are so grateful.”