“[Customers have] responded really well,” Rider says. “I think it’s unique and exciting and fresh and a little different from what the other food carts have to offer.”
In addition to popular staples like the fried avocado and black bean bowl and avocado tacos, she offers daily specials that highlight a host of culinary roots and locally-sourced ingredients. While the bowl is a high-seller, Rider says that many of her regular customers simply rotate through the menu, trying everything once before cycling through again.
“I’ve been really surprised, it’s so much fun,” Rider says. “I’ve never met so many nice people.”
That’s not to say the new venture hasn’t had challenges. Rider jokes that every time she tries to move the cart, something goes wrong—someone steals the hitch, the truck won’t start, the pipes freeze, or it's too cold for the propane to work. And still, she’s pushed through and built up a loyal fan base. Some days, she’s arrived to work to find a line of people waiting for fried avocado tacos.
“It’s been an adventure,” she says. “It’s interesting because the universe is always testing us.”
But Rider seems to passing with flying colors. While her initial goal was to open her own brick and mortar restaurant within a couple of years, she’s on schedule to launch a full-fledged Global Fusion in mid-June—less than a year after opening her cart. Rider says she recently signed papers to take over the space previously occupied by Second Street Eats, in the Maker’s District.
She’ll keep the westside cart open, staffed by a former Broken Top Bottle Shop coworker, and focus on breakfast, brunch, and lunch at the new location. While traffic dies down in the evenings in the Maker’s District, in picks up in the Galveston neighborhood, and Rider will offer extended hours at the cart in the summer months.
“We might do some experiments [at the restaurant] and maybe do a farmer's dinner once or twice a month,” Rider says, adding that she hopes to invite guest chefs from the community to prepare meals on a regular basis.
She has already brought her partner—a nursing administrator and “wannabe” chef—into the fold, giving her a taste of the sometimes-chaotic work of a chef.
“The goal is to make it a real family atmosphere and community based,” Rider says.
The next dream: To make such out-there, incredible sandwiches—“the best sandwiches in Bend”—that Guy Fieri from the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” features Global Fusion on his show.