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Truck Stop: The Manila Machine Goes Off the Road, But Not Away

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The Manila Machine's cheery orange truck (Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)
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When the Manila Machine food truck, with its tasty Filipino fare, got rolling last summer, it soon became a favorite meals-on-wheels option in the city. From their addictive and unique purple ube cupcakes to their savory and satisfying lumpia, sliders, and adobo dishes, local food bloggers turned entrepreneurs Marvin Gapultos (Burnt Lumpia) and Nastassia Johnson (Let Me Eat Cake) got thousands of eaters tuned into to a taste of the Philippines.

Flash forward to April 1st, and the duo made an announcement that rattled their fans and members of the local food scene: The Manila Machine Truck is going out of service for the time being.

Let's face it: No one goes into the food truck business because of the money or the fame, though there is both to be had in varying quantities depending on popularity, and how many phone calls from the Food Network you take. It's hard work prepping, managing, marketing, serving, and even just the process of securing a parking spot can be part of the daily grind.

Luckily for fans of the food from the Manila Machine, it's not all over. Johnson and Gapultos are a success story when it comes to creating a brand and building a great reputation wile serving delicious food. And while their truck was a success on its own, they say it's time now to turn in the truck and focus on the Manila Machine in a different way.

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Johnson explained in an email to LAist the new foodventures they have planned and how things feel at the end of a nearly year-long truck run:

We are focusing on catering events are are thankful that we are fortunate enough to even have received catering requests. We are happy with our accomplishments with the truck. We are proud to be the First Filipino truck, to be bloggers that followed a passion and a whim and we are proud to have shined a brighter light on Filipino cuisine in Southern California. What is next for the Manila Machine? Other than catering we are exploring other opportunities as well, but you never know the Manila Machine may pop up in the summer to serve the adobo everyone loves.

Gapultos echoes Johnson's sentiments in a follow-up post on the Manila Machine site put up late yesterday in the face of an unexpected explosion of speculation about why the truck is no longer hitting the streets:

Was it easy getting to where we are now? No. But we never said otherwise. We spent the last year working on creating our brand and running our business a certain way, and we’re not going to let one false story take away from our success. If we were supposed to be dead broke and in shambles after all of this, well, we’re sorry it didn’t happen that way. We are still around just not in truck form.

We're sad...and happy for Johnson and Gapultos at the same time. We can't wait to get a now more-coveted chance to taste their amazing Spam sliders, pork belly adobo, and those ube cupcakes again.