By Cole Short, Hillsboro Banner
Mike Deck has turned in his pilot’s license for a restaurant license.
After more than 30 years in the cockpit and a long stint as co-owner of Sky Tractor Supply north of Hillsboro, Deck has stepped away to pursue a new passion.
Deck and his wife, Denise, plan to open the Cruizin Cafe food truck in Hillsboro in mid- to late March once state health inspectors have signed off on the mobile restaurant.
“We’re very excited but nervous,” Deck said Wednesday. “I have been in the spraying business my whole life and now to do this, it’s exciting.”
Deck, 52, retired from Sky Tractor and spent this winter renovating a food truck he purchased to open the new business.
“I’ve always wanted to own a food truck – either that or a Dairy Queen – but definitely something in that industry,” he said. “Something about it has always appealed to me.”
Although the couple continues to fine-tune their offerings, the mobile cafe’s menu will include specialized hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, pulled pork and smoked meats including brisket.
“Our goal is to have quality food and use a lot of local produce from town to try to support the community,” Deck said.
“We named it cafe because we didn’t want to be a slave to one item.”
Initial plans call for the food truck to be open four or five days a week during lunch and dinner, although morning hours serving breakfast burritos also are under consideration.
Deck and a friend, Jeff Brickman of Hillsboro, will be the cafe’s primary employees with Denise lending a hand on occasion.
Since the restaurant will be mobile, the cafe may roam out of town for summer events like the Hatton Fourth of July celebration, Deck said.
He’d also like to cater to workers at the American Crystal Sugar factory north of Hillsboro if the company seems agreeable to visits.
Most often the food truck will be parked behind Tap That bar at 15 Main St.
Deck’s sister, Peg, and her husband, Tony, own the downtown watering hole.
“We’re going to stick around town to dip our feet in the water first,” Deck said. “But if there are occasions where we can get out of town we will pursue those, too.”
Deck said he envisions the business being open at least a couple days during winter months depending on the weather.
The fledging restaurant owners said they’re expecting to open in mid- to late March, although that timeline could be bumped up depending on an approved health inspection.
The business will debut a Facebook page sometime in the next month to keep diners updated on their opening date and daily whereabouts.
“Right now we’re still waiting on that,” Deck said. “We didn’t want to pop the balloon until everything was ready to go.
“We’re hoping to get that all up so people can monitor where we’re going to be.”