What came first? The food truck or the restaurant? In this case, it’s the egg.
Long before he became a New England Culinary Institute-trained chef and winner of Food Network's Chopped "Breakfast Battle," Fairfield native Eric Felitto was known for his bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. From an early age he was frying them up for all his friends, his older brother and his brother’s friends, too.
“It got to the point where my brother would pretend to be our father, call the middle school and sign me out during the day when he and his friends had free periods in high school so I could make sandwiches for them,” laughed Felitto.
One of the friends he made sandwiches for was Mike Bertanza. The two met in elementary school and have been friends since they were 10 years old, growing up a few blocks from each other in Fairfield. They took different paths after high school, with Felitto pursuing the culinary arts and Bertanza banking.
An idea for a food truck sprang up when work brought them in close proximity in 2016.
“I can cook a bacon, egg and cheese!”
“Mike worked at a bank across from my restaurant so we would meet and talk,” recalled Felitto. “We always had the idea of working for ourselves and I had talked about a food truck for a while. So one day Mike says, ‘You always cooked great breakfast sandwiches, what if we bought a trailer and used it as a breakfast food truck?’ The idea was we could keep our day jobs.”
“Eric had been talking to me about food trucks for a long time—I’m always up for ideas for businesses—but I didn’t see how I could fit in on a food truck until bacon, egg and cheese came to my mind,” added Bertanza. “I can cook a bacon, egg and cheese!”
Soon after, the duo ordered a custom 6x12 motorcycle trailer and through their own elbow grease and help from family and friends (who happen to have professional expertise), they were able to retrofit the trailer into a commercial kitchen in roughly three months. The name “The Tasty Yolk” was decided upon (runner-up was “Truck Wagon”), and a location near Sacred Heart University was chosen.
Unlike in other towns, according to Bertanza and Felitto, Fairfield lets you park your truck wherever you can legally and safely park it, and the location on Park Avenue near Sacred Heart University provided potential instant clientele in college students as well as those visiting a nearby park and Frisbee golf course. Plus there was parking.
“It has to be convenient,” stressed Felitto when talking about food truck location. “People can’t be afraid to get out of their cars, have to walk far or have no place to stand.”
Since then one food truck has turned into three and a fourth is used for special catering events. Food trucks are in their usual spots (you’ll find exact addresses at The Tasty Yolk website) in Bridgeport and Fairfield every Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The thing could barely shut and he loved everything about it!”
While it may be a more typical business move to go from restaurant to food truck, Bertanza and Felitto have done the opposite, opening their first Tasty Yolk restaurant in Black Rock —their fastest growing food truck location and an area that has warmly welcomed them—this past spring at 2992 Fairfield Ave. And with it, there’s no more banking for Bertanza and no more working in someone else’s restaurant for Felitto.
Eggs aren’t on every item on the menu at the restaurant, but can be added to any item, any time.
“I served a guy a fried chicken sandwich at the restaurant once and he ordered two eggs with bacon on it,” said Felitto. “The thing could barely shut and he loved everything about it!”
Bertanza favors the menu’s Crispy Mother Clucker.
“It’s my favorite, but every time I bite into something Eric makes I say it’s my favorite thing,” admitted Bertanza.
Felitto loves his Banker sandwich (made with braised brisket) so much that he has a tattoo of one on his arm.
“It’s like getting your kids footprints tattooed,” said Felitto.
Both trucks and restaurant accept text orders, which the two say more restaurants should be doing for take out orders because it creates an instant transaction and holds the food server accountable. Online reviews praise the customer service and the fresh food made with high-quality ingredients.
It’s breakfast and lunch for now, but who knows what the future will bring?
“People have no problem putting an egg on anything,” said Felitto.
As long as that holds—and there’s no reason why it should change—the Tasty Yolk should do just fine.