ORLANDO, Fla. – April Williams and her husband Dustin — the owners of À La Cart — are Central Florida natives, but their professional backgrounds are not in food and hospitality.
“(I was teaching) math and science at a high school — physics and chemistry — and then my husband was also teaching at the same school. Aren’t we adorable,” April Williams said.
The couple was living in Bend, Oregon, at the time but often found themselves traveling north to Portland.
“Every time we would go out to eat, we almost always go to a food cart pod,” April Williams said. “My husband and I have very different eating styles and we can always both get exactly what we want (at a food cart pod) without fighting, our son can kind of run around in the open air. Usually, we can find a drink and (it’s) just a very casual place to just come together and enjoy ourselves.”
While living in the Pacific Northwest, they would also take family and friends to those same food cart pods. The discussion would always come back around to bringing a similar experience to Orlando.
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“We’re like, ‘You guys should do this in Orlando,’” April Williams said. “They’re not in hospitality... and after a while, my husband’s like, ‘Why don’t we go back home (and start a food car pod)?’ And I’m like, ‘You know, if that’s what you want to do? Absolutely not. No, we have jobs.’ But he was adamant about it and convinced me.”
The couple made the decision to open their own food cart pod back in their hometown of Orlando but hit a potentially dream-ending stumbling block pretty early on.
“I was up late, we were living in Oregon, he was asleep and I was reading through the city’s code,” April Williams said. “And it said very plainly, you cannot have multiple food trucks on a property for an extended period of time. And I just started crying because we’d gotten pretty far into this. We were very hopeful. I thought we were just dead in the water.”
Despite the instant despair that April Williams felt, her husband was not deterred.
“He looked at the code and you know what he said? ‘Oh, I’ll just call the city.’ Of course, why not? And I’m like, ‘What does that even mean? Who are you going to call?’” April Williams said. “And he did. He called (city leaders) and they said, ‘Maybe. This is interesting. Tell us more.’”
Eventually, after a little more convincing, the city gave April and Dustin Williams the green light to open À La Cart in the Milk District. The space features several food carts and even helped to launch several brick-and-mortar restaurants, such as Chicken Fire.
On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, April Williams talks all about the process of selling their home on the West Coast to take a chance on starting À La Cart. She also talks about working in the Milk District and how the food cart pod weathered the pandemic.
Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”
Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.
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