The Good Bites food truck is serving creative, farm-to-table, gourmet bar food and filling a unique role in Mason.
On a typical day, the Good Bites food truck is parked behind BAD Brewing on Jefferson Street. Good Bites serves as the kitchen for BAD Brewing Company and provides table service to brewery patrons, said Jon Fraser, Good Bites owner.
Fraser said he initially intended to open a restaurant in downtown Mason. He liked Mason as a location and, having recently moved to Mason, he wanted to work closer to home.
Good Bites started as an idea for a sit-down restaurant. When the initial idea wasn’t working out, Fraser said the business plan changed from sit-down to food truck.Fraser said he saw on the city’s website in 2009 that the city did a study to determine how to redevelop the downtown into a commercial area. “One of the big things was restaurants,” Fraser said.
He hopes Good Bites is doing its part for Mason’s redevelopment. “My sincere hope is that we’re helping with the collective impact on Mason in general,” said Fraser. He said he hopes to help Mason grow and to solidify it as a destination and not just a “bedroom community.”
The Good Bites menu changes depending on the day or event and prices can range from about $7 to about $14.
The No Joke Nachos, which Fraser said are a fan-favorite, are $11, according to the menu.
The Pan Fried Mac and Cheese, which sous-chef Jeff VanHorn said is also a fan-favorite, is $9, according to the menu.
Something like the Smoked Steelhead Trout Cakes are $13.25. The Cherrywood Smoked Wings, sometimes on the brunch menu, are $10.
The menu features items like: Fresh date compote, whipped cardamom ricotta cream, burnt shallot sauerkraut, bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, bleu cheese aioli, five cheese mornay with Michigan pinconning, garlic basil marinara, sesame garlic kaiser rolls, local lettuce greens and fresh tortilla chips.
Prior to Good Bites, he was the executive chef at the Walnut Hills Country Club in East Lansing, he said.
VanHorn knows pairing quality, local ingredients with passion makes a difference in the product they present customers. “We don’t believe in cutting corners and if we can make anything ourselves, we will,” said VanHorn. It’s more expensive and costs us more money, but it makes a better product.
Even down to the condiments–they make their own ketchup and sour cream, VanHorn said.
VanHorn said he left the restaurant Red Haven to come help Fraser take on Good Bites. The two met while working at the Walnut Hills Country Club, in East Lansing.
Working 12 to 16 hours a day, “You don’t do this to make a lot of money,” VanHorn said.
You do it because you really care about it, he said.
VanHorn said what he enjoys about being a chef at Good Bites is “having creative freedom and getting to do what I love for a living.”
This passion and quality is growing Good Bites in the community. Fraser said they’ve had to find more storage space to accommodate growing demand.
It’s also bringing in customers from Mason and beyond, satisfying his desire to make Mason a destination.
Jason Dollman-Jersey, dubbed a “regular” by Fraser, lives about five miles outside Mason. He said he makes a point of coming to Good Bites at least once a week.
He comes to support business, for the good food and to talk to “the nice folks at the truck,” he said.