Can running a food truck help create policy change in a major city? Absolutely, says YEC member James DiSabatino. Food trucks weren’t technically legal in Boston when James DiSabatino started his food truck business, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese. But he helped change that.
While he says he didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur, James had an entrepreneurial mindset when he bought a food cart permit, obtained a health permit, and parked his truck in the designated space. Boston police weren’t sure what to do about him and soon the mayor’s office heard about his quasi-legal operation. The upshot: he ended up helping the city of Boston develop policy to allow food trucks.
James is now a successful food entrepreneur. In addition to Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, he also has a second brand, Whole Heart Provisions, a restaurant that serves up a healthier, plant-based menu in Cambridge and Allston.
“As I started to build relationships with people in very different industries from food, I realized we were all faced with the same challenges.”
When he was invited to join YEC, James was hesitant at first, since there weren’t many other food entrepreneurs in the community. But he’s since discovered that great advice and lasting friendships aren’t industry-specific.
“As I started to build relationships with people in very different industries from food, I realized we were all faced with the same challenges,” he says, adding that his involvement with YEC has “really helped me build confidence as an entrepreneur.”
When faced with a business challenge, James doesn’t hesitate to reach out the community or post a question in the forum. “The community forum allows me to put that question out there and see what comes back and, if I don’t have an answer immediately, I connect with someone who can help me within a week. It really turbocharges your ability to solve those challenging questions.”
Watch more of James's story on the YEC YouTube Channel.