By Janae Easlon
The Bellingham Business Journal
Shayle and Casey DenBleyker combined their passions for design and cuisine in their new venture Feast, a food trailer business that’s just getting under way.
The couple, who moved to the Bellingham area with their four children four years ago, are bringing their unique talents to the business.
Shayle studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Oregon and worked at a farm to table restaurant while living there. Casey studied graphic design in Kansas City, Missouri.
The DenBleykers’ vision for their 8-by-18-foot food trailer matches their love of the city, Casey said.
The cedar-sided, painted trailer was custom built in Portland, Oregon. Casey handpainted the floral, nature-inspired murals decorating the trailer. They want to bring fresh flowers everyday to put on the sides, Shayle said.
“There is a representation of the craft we want to put into everything,” Casey added. “It will feel like the trailer is much more custom and done by hand.”
While it is more time consuming, Shayle said they want to convey small details with Feast.
“With a restaurant you walk into and there is an ambience,” Casey said. “It is different with food trucks because you can go everywhere. Our focus has been how do we take an atmosphere of community and warmth wherever we go.”
Feast will do event appearances only and hours to be determined on a case by case basis, Casey said.
The farm-to-table restaurant Firehouse in northeast Portland inspired Shayle’s cooking when she worked there because of its simple, good ingredients, she said.
Before their pursuits in Bellingham, the DenBleykers also worked at a food stand at a fair in Alaska that had a similar menu to the one they’re planning for Feast.
The DenBleykers describe their food as American pub fare — sandwiches, burgers and fries done well, Casey said. Four main entrees and sides such as truffle and rosemary fries will be the sole items.
Feast’s signature entree is their homemade Reuben sandwich, which is a dish they made in the past for their food booth in Alaska, Shayle said.
Items on the menu will also include a chorizo burger with housemade chorizo, roasted poblano peppers, guacamole, Breckenridge Farm-supplied ground pork and ground beef and served on Avenue Bread buns.
A dairy-free, vegan option is included called the Buddha Bowl — organic brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, roasted seasonal veggies and coconut curry sauce.
Lastly, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with buttermilk and garlic brined fried chicken, pepperoncini aioli, and slaw with a house vinaigrette will appear as the fourth entree, Shayle said.
“We are keeping our menu limited so we can focus on doing a couple things well,” Casey said. “To keep it consistent so people know what to expect when they visit.”
They wanted a brand that had flexibility to attend events like harvest festivals rather than on-the-street serving, Casey said.
“We have four kids eight and under,” Shayle said. “They are a huge part of our life. We are going to navigate the balance of doing events around time with our kids.”
Their kids love food and witnessed them spend hours on planning Feast for the past six months, Shayle said. Casey works as a full-time graphic designer outside of working on Feast.
“They want to work with us now — at least they pretend to at home,” she said.
The DenBleykers’ eldest son inspired Feast’s name, Shayle said. “We would sit down at dinner, and he would shout ‘Let the feast commence!’ even when he was as little as four. It might have just been spaghetti or might be something I took a long time to make,” she said.
The idea of a feast is good food and gathering people, Shayle said. “The food truck feels like how we bring values we love,” she said.
While Shayle and Casey have been doing the preliminary planning on their own, the DenBleyker’s hope to add members of their staff. Shayle has approached Bellingham Technical College to find possible candidates, she said. She is working with several local farms to become suppliers for Feast in addition.
Feast’s opening debut was scheduled to debut July 29-30 at Structure Brewing’s beer release event at 1420 N. State St. The DenBleyker’s food trailer can be found at the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, Washington, starting Monday, Aug. 15.