Most Read: Wellness

Are Your Kids Caffeinated?

Find out why caffeine and kids don’t mix. Read more

Chatting About Online Safety

Nowadays kids of all ages are connecting with friends and fa... Read more

Why Manners Matter

Start your children on the right foot by teaching them manne... Read more

Why Yoga is Good for Kids

Little Cecilia Kocan, age 5, sat perfectly still, meditating... Read more

Nuts About Nuts

Holiday vacation time is approaching, and I already feel lik... Read more

Put an End to Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged ... Read more

Family + Sports = Fun

Fitness starts early—from a child’s first steps! When Mom an... Read more

The Dirt on Dirt

“Don’t track mud in the house!” “Wash your hands before din... Read more

Walking the Middle Path

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a relatively new appro... Read more

Zits for Grown-Ups

Cafeteria cliques may be a distant memory, but if you’re sti... Read more

Mediterranean Diet for Kids

It’s not just for grown-ups! Feed your kids the health... Read more

Infertility Procedures

Discover the latest treatment options for infertile couples... Read more

Make Sleep a Priority

  Parents often use bedtime stories and other peaceful... Read more

Let's Move

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in Amer... Read more

Fitting in Fitness

When was the last time you played with your children—really ... Read more

Concerned about Fever?

One the most common reasons I see a child in my office is fo... Read more

Girls Fighting Fire

While going on nature hikes, singing songs, and roasting s&r... Read more

Bringing Home Baby

As a parent-to-be, you are probably feeling overwhelmed as y... Read more

Eat Your Veggies!

Summer’s bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables offers a... Read more

To Cell or Not to Cell

My husband and I were sitting on the couch chatting one nigh... Read more

2023 Aug

Culinary Creativity on the Go

Who knew you can find such inventive dishes on a food truck?

Recently, while biting into a forearm-sized sandwich and dreaming of Sun Gold Tomato Gazpacho, I got to thinking: Just how far would I travel to slake a craving?

As a kid, I would scale the crevice of a creek in our backyard, trek through the woods, climb over a metal gate, race past a pair of mean chihuahuas, then drift down a dusty dirt road, and cross a busy highway to arrive at (cue the trumpets) the 7-Eleven! There, I’d squander my allowance on a Southern summer staple: ice cold co-colas with a pack of salty peanuts dumped right in.

My sister recently shared that she and her husband frequently drive three hours to their favorite barbecue joint. And my cousin once flew to Trinidad just to eat rotis.

I merely had to endure Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel traffic and a stretch of I-64 to arrive at Toano and the FoodaTude food truck. It’s where Jim Kennedy, one of Virginia’s most inventive and overlooked chefs, dishes a mind-blowing, ever-changing menu. Think duck confit tacos, fresh bagels, wood-fired clam pizzas, pastrami poutine, or house-made goat cheese ice cream with a blackberry-habanero swirl.

“I don’t know how some chefs do the same thing day in and day out for years,” Jim said while standing under his saffron tent and pressing a pillow of dough into a 12-inch circle. “I’m having fun with it, still trying new things.”

I first met Jim, a former Navy corpsman, at Dudley’s Farmhouse Grill, a restaurant he named in memory of his silver dapple Dachshund. Before that, he owned a scratch pizza parlor and a deli in Williamsburg.

Dudley’s was truly a best kept secret and a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement. In an old farmhouse in Toano, he tended a tidy cook’s garden and hosted wild game wine-pairing dinners—think elk, bison, and boar. Later, he opened Dudley’s Bistro in Williamsburg’s New Town and served up striper BLTs, black-eyed pea cassoulet topped with duck, and his signature Sun Gold Tomato Gazpacho, a cool, sunshiny puree with a greenish curlicue of olive oil on top, all of which might show up on FoodaTude’s menu.

Seven years ago, Jim closed the bistro and bought a food truck, had FoodaTude painted on the side, and took his boundless culinary creativity on the road. He won’t brave the HRBT, which means that South Hampton Roads epicures must make a road trip, but it’s well worth the miles.

The sandwich I was holding, one of six on the menu that day, was itself worth the travels.

That’s because Jim curates his pantry with the care of a fine arts museum custodian. He sources cheeses from Italy and the best domestic caves. He scours farmers markets for the freshest seasonal produce. He grinds his own sausage and cures his own bacon (including the apple-cinnamon, which he piles onto house-made bagel breakfast sammies.) Even King Arthur’s flour doesn’t make Kennedy’s cut. He recently switched to an Italian import—more expensive but worth the tweak in flavor.

Jim handed over my enormous “Bella” sandwich ($16) built on a soft sub roll that he baked just that morning. Three kinds of Italian cold cuts flopped out the side: slightly spicy coppa piccante, lean and salty coppicola, and Genoa salami with just the right amount of fat. Three slices of fresh mozzarella, each nearly an inch thick, peeked from between the folds of meat nicely tempering the saltiness. A schmear of artichoke tapenade and some cherry peppers made it more memorable than any sub I’ve eaten.

Other menu items that day included jumbo bourbon-maple wings, crab fritters, fried oysters, and 11 kinds of Dizzy Izzy’s pizzas, named for his daughter Isabella and cooked in his portable wood-fired pizza oven.

Despite being sated by the sub, which I had shared with a friend, I couldn’t resist Jim’s proffer of a pizza pie. The Hawaiian and veal-pork-beef meatball pies tempted, but I opted for the Dizzy Izzy, $16, which came hot from the oven. The slightly crunchy crust had a whisper of smoke flavor. It worked well with the generous scattering of house hot sausage, slabs of milky mozzarella, and shards of red pepper and red onion.

While some of Jim’s offerings may be too gourmet for children, he always offers burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders for those tender palates.

FoodaTude: Food with Attitude food truck - For schedules and menus, go to or find FoodaTude on Facebook. Bagel sandwiches: $7-$9; Pizza: $12-$22; Sandwiches: $14-$16; Kid’s fare: $6-$12.

Lorraine Eaton

Lorraine Eaton, former Staff Epicure at the Virginian-Pilot, is co-author of the “Food Lover’s Guide to Virginia,” and author of “Tidewater Table,” a local bestseller. She has won numerous state and national writing awards, and her work has been included in “Best Food Writing,” an annual anthology of the best American work in the genre. Lorraine has a daughter, Peyton, who is attending university. She resides in Virginia Beach.

Give Your Child a Healthy Start to the School Year

Sponsored Content

Help ensure your child enters the new school year healthy and without delay with these tips from the Virginia Department of Health.