Food truckin’: After six years, Karibbean Grill goes mobile

Lincoln Notice, owner of Karibbean Grill & BBQ, stands beside the 1986 Ford E350 Kurbmaster that now houses his business. After six years at a traditional brick-and-mortar location on Rt. 13 south of Smyrna, he’s decided to take his Caribbean-inspired barbecue on the road.
(Delaware State News/Ian Gronau)

SMYRNA — Afte r serving up Caribbean-inspired barbecue for over six years at his U.S. 13 location just south of Smyrna, Lincoln Notice has taken Karibbean Grill & BBQ mobile. Once a brick-and-mortar kitchen and dining room, his entire operation has been moved into the shell of a 1986 Ford E350 Kurbmaster.

Closing down last September, Mr. Notice said he decided to move on from his previous location because a recent shoulder and foot surgery were making the necessary long hours difficult to work and a food truck would build more flexibility into his business.

“The idea to move over to a food truck started about two years ago,” he said. “I came across this truck and bought it last June and it was perfect for what I needed.”

Equipped with a new motor, refurbished interior, updated kitchen features and appliances and all the necessary safety equipment, Mr. Notice said he’s taking to the road with a focus on events and catering at both business and private events.

Over his years at 3114 S. DuPont Blvd. in Smyrna, he says he’s built up a loyal following of customers who are anxious to scoop up some more of his barbecue after the brief hiatus.

“I’ve been getting tons of emails and calls,” he said. “I have so many people that have supported me and followed me, I want to keep them happy.”

Customers can expect many of the usual Caribbean fare he’s served in the past, but he notes that he’ll be doing some experimentation in the new format as well.

“Peoples’ favorites like the oxtail and jerk chicken rolls are coming back for sure,” he said. “But we’re going to be doing some fun things too like incorporating a mix of American foods too — throwing in some sandwiches and some salads too. We’ll also be offering more fish options too, like whiting and porgies. Really, we want to hear what people like and respond to that.”

Returning to roots

Barbecuing Caribbean food has always been a part of Mr. Notice’s life. Born in Jamaica, he picked up many traditional cooking techniques from family members and taught himself many more. Growing up in Brooklyn, he was originally an electrician by trade — working a maintenance job in New York City for almost 15 years. However, when he moved to Delaware back in 2008, he decided to make a career move to the culinary arts.

As it happens, taking to the road in a food truck won’t be Mr. Notice’s first time serving food outside of an official kitchen.

“Believe it or not, I got started by cooking out on the street,” he said. “About eight years ago there was a time where I was having a hard time getting a job, but I had my grill, so I took a chance. I wasn’t licensed or anything, but I just set up in places like Cheswold on Saturdays and Sundays and sold jerk chicken. That’s how I got my start about eight years ago.”

With no delusions about the competitiveness in the food service industry, Mr. Notice feels that the authenticity of his barbecue and ingredients will help his product continue to sell — whether it’s on wheels or a concrete foundation.

“I personally really like homemade food, something that tastes like it was made with love — like the person making it actually cares,” he said. “And I think that’s why people respond to my food. If you eat at a lot of fast food restaurants — not trying to speak badly about them — but sometimes you might not really know what they’re putting in the food. I like a lot of natural ingredients and wholesome food, that’s all I cook.”

In recent years, food trucks have had to contend with an increasing number of local regulations when setting up shop — Smyrna instituted a new licensing procedure for mobile vendors in 2016 and a proposal that would have welcomed food trucks to the streets of downtown Dover was scuttled in early 2018 by local restaurant owners. But, Mr. Notice says he’s not worried.

“It’s going to be a little challenging to get started, but to be honest, I’m not going anywhere I’m not wanted,” he said. “I want people to be excited when I show up, and I think there are a lot of events, businesses and private parties that will feel that way.”

To learn more about the Karibbean Grill & BBQ food truck, call 302-423-0839 or search “Karibbean Grill BBQ” on Facebook.

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