Age is just a number: Teen finds success with food truck – Salisbury Post
Age is just a number: A teenager finds success through a food truck
Published at 12:10 AM Sunday, November 12, 2023
ROCKWELL – Many kids can’t wait for the weekend because it’s a break from school and a chance to play. For 13-year-old Vivian Dattoli, Saturday is the day to start work.
Dattoli runs her own food truck called Vivian’s Rockin’ Concessions. The Rockwell teen has become a fixture at events in and around Rowan County, where she sells her famous sandwiches and chopped cheese.
It may seem like she’s still too young to be running her own business, but her dream actually started two years ago when she was just 11 years old.
“In 2021, I started cooking more,” Dattulli said. “I came up with the recipe for the sliders. I made my own recipe, my own seasoning, my own secret kind of recipe.
“It was so good that I wanted to sell it to people because I thought it was good enough that I could do it.”
Instead of opening a brick-and-mortar location, Dattoli decided to run a food truck.
“So, you can travel to different places for different people to try your food,” Dattulli said. “That’s how I came up with it, and I’m really glad we did it because now we’re selling a lot of stuff, we’re doing great, we’re doing great business and we’re seeing a lot of people happy.”
Once she took her sliders to market, Dattulli said they were an instant hit, so much so that it encouraged her to explore additional offerings.
“We’ve expanded the menu,” Dattulli said. “We had shredded cheese and sliders to start with. After that, we added rockin’ nachos, kids nachos, then rocking nachos, walking tacos, and tacos.”
According to Dattulli, customers are routinely surprised to learn that the business they’re patronizing is run by a 13-year-old, and they’re even more surprised when they find out how good the food is.
“People say, ‘Wow, you’re really young and you still have this kind of business,’ and that’s really cool,” Dattulli said. “When they try my food, they say, ‘This is really good.’ Some have said it’s the best slider or shredded cheese they’ve ever had.”
For those who don’t know, Dattoli explained what a chopped cheese sandwich is.
“The chopped cheese is placed on a hoagie bun, and contains all-natural ground beef with lettuce and our famous recipe for pink sauce with tomatoes and nacho cheese,” Dattulli said.
When asked if it was a fun family experience, Dattulli said enthusiastically, “Oh, yeah.”
“My favorite part about what I do is seeing people happy when they eat my food,” Dattulli said. “It’s fun working in the truck, going to different places and trying different things — trying other people’s food, seeing the vendors and everything else.”
It takes a first-hand look at business management as well.
“I’m the chef, so I cook with my dad, but sometimes, every now and then, I work the register,” Dattulli said.
It’s been an exciting journey for her so far, but Dattulli said she’s just getting started.
“In the future, we may be able to open a brick-and-mortar building; “It just depends on the business,” Dattulli said.