Scot Keliher of Chapman’s II
Scot and Becky Keliher are the latest owners of the Chapman’s Pie Wagon, now called Chapman’s II, in Historic Franklin. Scot has a background in the banking industry but his passion is food. He and his wife have 5 children, who all help run the food truck. You can find Chapman’s II at Eat the Street in Downtown Franklin on May 8th.
First and foremost, where did you get your love for cooking?
I was raised in a family of “foodies” who lived to eat – rather than eating to live. The love of cooking is a natural extension of that lifestyle . When you are around amazing food and you see that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary cooking is just a bit more prep time and knowledge, you learn early on that it is worth the effort.
What made you decide to buy the Chapman’s Pie Wagon?
I decided to buy the historic food trolley several months ago with my wife. We live in Franklin and were very impressed with Dan and Gwen Perkins and the way that they brought the trolley back. I grew up in the Franklin area and graduated from BGA in 1982. Having an existing and historic food truck/trolley for sale in my own hometown seemed like too good to be true! Chapman’s will be 100 years old in only 7 years! We are one of the original food trolleys in the area that were mule driven back in the day.
I read on your website that Chapman’s II is a family affair, what role does everyone play?
Each member of our family does play a role in the operation of the trolley, including all 5 children, ages 12 to 19. Most of the time I am working over the grill with the steak and helping out with whatever fire needs to be put out. Becky primarily works the flat top and she is always on the move – getting the plates prepared for delivery. Jenny – our oldest daughter – loves to bake and she specializes in creating delicious desserts. Abby loves being at the window and taking orders most of the time. Her bubbling personality is a perfect fit for that role. Anne helps Becky mostly in the preparation of the food in the trolley – getting each plate out with an eye for detail. She’s quality control. John likes to work the window too from time to time so that Abby can have a break and so does Joe. The boys also can be found handing out free flank steak samples in front of the trolley. One taste is all it takes!
What kind of food can people expect from Chapman’s II?
We are beginning to be known for our marinated flank steak – served in a salad or on a sandwich. When we first started the trolley, we only served the steak on Friday but now it is on the menu every time we are out on the road. We are also pleased to be keeping many of the popular dishes on the trolley that folks in Franklin have come to know and love. The menu for our bigger events does not always have all of the items that we will be cooking so that we can deliver our delicious food fast. The blackened fish tacos with our fresh pineapple pico de gallo is also one of our most popular dishes. They used to be our Tuesday staple item but because of their popularity we will have them on the menu most every day.
Besides the upcoming Eat the Street Festival, where can people find your food truck?
We have only been back for 2 events so far – Dickens of a Christmas was our soft opening and then the Main Street Festival in Franklin was our official Grand Re-Opening. Eat the Street will mark the return of the Jazzy Yum Bowl and some more of our other standard items will return when we start up at the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturdays. When the crowds are a bit smaller than the events that we have done so far there will be time to do a larger menu. We so appreciate our existing customers and want to have their favorites available for them to enjoy again. The burgers and havarti, spinach and pear sandwiches will be back. Dan’s Mile High Reuben will also be back. That one item may take a bit longer to prepare but it is worth it. It was the very first thing that I ever ate out of the Pie Wagon!