Bloom Burger, a food truck featuring elements of ‘50s nostalgia with hamburger and fries options inspired by foods from immigrant communities, had its grand opening April 21 at the Primetime Business Expo.
The truck is owned by Hallie Baumann, an IU graduate with an East Asian Language and Culture studies degree and a degree in Japanese. Bloom Burger was influenced by her great aunt, a Syrian-Jewish chef and author.
“She would lay out this whole buffet of all these amazing different foods that I had never had before,” Baumann said.
Baumann said she asked her great aunt to teach her the Syrian style of cooking, which introduced her to her love of multicultural cuisine.
Baumann was previously a henna artist who owned Inali Henna for 10 years until the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for her to practice her business, she said.
“I was floundering for what I would be able to do,” Baumann said. “And I had made some burgers for a couple of people and they were just sitting there saying ‘You know, I would actually pay for that.’”
Hamid Ali, the owner of food truck Döner Kebab, is a veteran of the industry with eight years of experience operating his truck. He said people looking to start in the food truck business should understand the extent of the time and hard work involved.
“I don’t have a life beside this food truck,” Ali said.
Ali takes Sundays off, he said, but the rest of his days are spent in the truck. Ali said IU is a major contributor to the food truck industry in Bloomington, and although business has slowed since the pandemic, students helped his business thrive pre-pandemic.
Louis Hayes, Baumann’s fiancé, said Baumman faced difficulties finding a company to build her truck because of supply chain issues influenced by the pandemic.
“People weren’t even calling her back,” Hayes said.
The process of building a food truck typically involves modifying a box truck to include a kitchen. They aren’t made for cross country trips, Hayes said, but Baumann and Hayes had to drive it over a thousand miles back to Indiana after they flew to Miami to have it assembled.
“She was really having to fight tooth and nail,” Hayes said.
Baumann said she wants her business to introduce people to cultural foods through the medium of a burger.
Burger options will rotate on and off the menu. Options include the Gyro Hero, complete with feta and tzatziki, and the Shogun, which features a miso and shōyu-infused patty. Bloom Burger also sells ice cream from Chocolate Moose, and fries can be Cajun or Chaat Masala spiced, according to its website.
Both Bloom Burger and Döner Kebab will be at Switchyard Park for Food Truck Friday on April 29.