Mechanic and former chef fires up food truck hub on Southside

Kaveh Marrefi stands inside a food truck. (Photos by Charlotte Woods)

A veteran of the local food truck scene is looking to carve out a niche that combines his experience working on trucks and in cooking food.

Kaveh Marrefi this month plans to launch Richmond Food Truck Hub, a hybrid auto-service shop and commercial kitchen for food truck operators.

“Basically they will back their truck up, cook all their food and load all their refrigerations onto their trucks, and drive out for the day,” Marrefi said. “In this business, sometimes you get to a point where you can’t cook everything on your truck anymore because your production is so high.”

The new venture will launch Jan. 15 and operate out of 133 E. Belt Blvd., a 10,000-square-foot Southside space it will share with KSM Manufacturing, Marrefi’s other company, which helps build, outfit and service area food trucks.

Marrefi is a former restaurant and food truck owner himself. After working as a sous chef for various restaurants, he opened an Italian restaurant called Bellagio, which he closed in 2004. He also operated an Italian-Persian fusion food truck, Kava Kava Gourmet, from 2014 to 2017. He said he had to give it up in order to devote more time to the business that became KSM Manufacturing.

He began building food trucks on a freelance basis about four years ago and has worked on vehicles for Boka Tako, Carytown Burgers & Fries, Happy Empanada and a forthcoming Ukrop’s-branded pastry and panini truck. One recent client is Rob Zorch of the newly launched Zorch Pizza.

One of the Richmond Food Truck Hub’s prep stations.

With the Richmond Food Truck Hub, Marrefi plans to charge users a base of $1,000 per month for full access to storage, secured parking, water and electric. Also, clients can pay between $250 and $500 for a la carte services.

“You can be getting your oil changed while you’re doing your food to go out and drive your truck,” he said.

He invested about $100,000 into the hub and has handled much of the build-out himself, while also hiring B&B Mechanical and Safety First Company of Virginia. He said once the kitchen’s hood system is completed, the hub should be ready for opening.

Marrefi also has a rental truck available for people who want to test out the industry or rent for supplemental kitchen space.

Though Marrefi works more on the mechanical side of things these days, he still knows his way around a food truck kitchen, as he occasionally hops in the rental truck for events.

“I still go out and play around a little bit,” he said. “I haven’t given up the chef life yet.”

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Michael Dodson

Excellent resource for all those food truck vendors.