SOUTHERN INDIANA—Dock Seafood has been a Southern Indiana staple for years as it's served up classics such as fried fish and hushpuppies at three different spots in the area.
But the restaurant is no longer limited to brick-and-mortar restaurants. It's expanded to new areas with a food truck in recent years, and starting this month, it will reach more locations than ever before.
Dock Seafood Concessions is a recent food truck business owned by Will Kramer, who runs the local restaurants along with his family. The food truck will now be stationed at rotating locations across the Kentuckiana region six days a week, including locations in Sellersburg, Charlestown, Clarksville, Salem and Louisville.
The food truck service opened for the season on Friday, and it will run until Nov. 1.
Dock Seafood has restaurants located at 1125 State Street in New Albany, 805 E. 10th Street in Jeffersonville and 1783 Old Highway 135 in Corydon. While he has worked at the other locations, Dock Seafood Concessions is Kramer's own business venture.
Opening Dock Seafood Concessions is a way for him continue his family legacy. Kramer's family, including his mother and stepfather, has owned the business for about 22 years, and he's been involved in the restaurant for his whole life.
"I kind of know the ins and outs of everything," he said.
He's had jobs in professions such as accounting and HVAC, but Dock Seafood has remained a major part of his life.
"I've ventured out, and I've tried other things," Kramer said. "I always end up back here behind the fryer."
Kramer didn't originally intend for the food truck to become an everyday service. He's served Dock Seafood at events such as Harvest Homecoming, Sellersburg Celebrates!, Lanesville Heritage Weekend, Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art and Madison Regatta.
Last year, he received a positive response when he started serving fish from the food truck two days a week in Salem, and when he opened there Friday morning, there was already a line of people waiting for food despite the cold weather.
For Kramer, interacting with people is one of his favorite things about running a food truck. Many of his food truck customers since he's started have even braved bad weather to get their food, which is something he doesn't experience in a regular store.
Employee Morton Scott said last year, customers in Salem continued to stand in line for the food truck even when a tornado was spotted nearby. People were still showing up even through rain and strong winds.
"Every time I'd try to close down, more people would come," he said. "It was wild. That's the kind of things you see with a food truck."
Funding was one of the biggest reason that he decided to open a food truck. Since the overhead expenses are low compared to a brick-and-mortar restaurant, he thought it would be a good way to expand the business. He also likes the opportunity to take the food to various locations in the area and find new customers.
"I felt like this would be the best marketing scheme—to get people who have never tried it before and bring it to them so they can try it," he said. "We're good enough that once they've tried it, they will come find us."
One of the main differences is that he serves the food a la carte because of the truck's limited space. However, Kramer said the recipes remain the same—he doesn't want to mess with the classics.
He also prepares some of the ingredients ahead of time so the food can easily be thrown into the fryer while working in the truck. All of the food has homemade breading, including Dock's famous fried fish and hushpuppies.
The menu also features boneless wings, bratwurst sandwiches, shrimp, clams, pan-fried oysters and a variety of sides.
"The whole menu's popular," Kramer said. "If it's not popular, I take it out."
Louisville resident Daniel Johnson, who ate at the food truck in Clarksville on Saturday, said he's eating at the Jeffersonville and Corydon Dock Seafood restaurants for a couple years. It's hard to find good fish in the area, he said, so he's happy to see it expand in the area with the food truck.
Clarksville resident Ashwin Netto ordered a fish sandwich and hushpuppies on Saturday. He said he typically goes to the Dock Seafood in Jeffersonville, but since the food truck will be located near his home in Clarksville on Saturdays, he plans to eat there frequently, particularly in warmer weather.
He said he's excited to see a longtime business move into new areas.
"There's a lot of development going on in Clarksville, and seeing the people who have been in the area doing more is amazing," he said.