In spite of challenges, Va. food truck owner finds success during pandemic

The Two Cool Dudes food truck has been staying busy during the pandemic. (Courtesy Max Bawarski)

While many small businesses are struggling during the pandemic, one D.C.-area food truck owner has found success hitting the road.

Max Bawarski started the Two Smooth Dudes Food Truck as a side gig to teaching in Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools about seven years ago.

“We started out making smoothies, hence the name Two Smooth Dudes, and we didn’t really make that much money,” Bawarski said.

So they came up with the idea of offering food as well and now have a menu of tater tots with specialty toppings, wraps and salads and expanded to three trucks. They did the festival circuit and spent time going to events in Virginia, D.C., and Maryland.

Then, the pandemic hit.

“My mindset is … pretty much ‘I’m not going to like [to] fail’ — I’m going to whoever it takes to figure out how to be successful,” Bawarski said.

With festivals canceled, he started contacting breweries and wineries to sell at. He also contacted local communities, and when they’d have his trucks in their towns, he’d serve food at a local fire or police station for free on the way home.

“It’s great to be able to give back during a difficult time for everyone,” he said.

Through these efforts expanding where he sets up his food truck, he has more than doubled his profits, marking his most successful year yet.

He credits brainstorming with his team and coming up with new ideas that made it happen.

“It’s amazing when you sit down with six or eight people or however many people you have on your team and truly give everyone a chance to kind of speak their mind and not get upset, it’s really kind of amazing to see how much things can evolve,” Bawarski said.

He said festivals often charge hundreds to thousands of dollars to set up at their locations, so he has saved some money in fees that helped along the way.

And he’s grateful for the crew that keeps his three trucks going.

“I just happened to get really, really lucky. I have a lot of great people working for me and we have a great team,” Bawarski said.


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up