Drunk Tony’s food truck owners Anthony and Kandess Gaudio were making what turned out to be a 17-hour road trip back from Richmond, Virginia, in their recently purchased food truck just before the onset of the pandemic.
Anthony, a Pittsburgh native who grew up working on classic cars with his father, spent the next 13 months outfitting the truck in his driveway before hitting the road in March 2021 to feed hordes of hungry Charlestonians looking to get a taste of his real-deal Italian cuisine.
“I grew up cooking with my parents,” said Anthony, whose great-grandfather was born and raised in Italy. “Everything’s localized around the kitchen. My parents would always cook some huge wild dinner, and my friends would always come over.”
Combine that with the fact that both sets of his grandparents owned restaurants, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Anthony is making a living cooking Italian cuisine.
“It’s been a wild couple of months figuring out how to take any of my dishes and figuring out how to do it on a food truck,” he said.
But after less than three months in business, the Gaudios are whipping up made-to-order Italian favorites like chicken parmesan subs and chicken alfredo, dishes Anthony says folks “can’t believe [are] coming out of a truck.”
“Nothing is heat to serve — everything is scratch made on the truck,” said Anthony, who uses fresh Rio Bertolini’s pasta for his plates of chicken alfredo or shrimp pomodoro. “I wanted to keep it local and keep it fresh.”
And “Drunk Tony,” who earned the moniker when family members realized his signature shrimp dinner got better and better the more wine Anthony drank, isn’t the only cook in the food truck kitchen.
“It’s a two person team — I get to spend every night with my wife — it’s fantastic. She’s brought a few of the dishes to the menu herself,” said Anthony, adding that Kandess’ chicken rigatoni with vodka sauce is one of Drunk Tony’s most popular items. “I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without her.”
Anthony and Kandess know their way around the truck after completing all the renovations in their driveway, so if the truck breaks down, Anthony has the know-how to make the repairs himself.
“I’m a real big car guy — I grew up doing renos with my dad. The only thing that I had contracted out was some fabrication work,” said Anthony, who added dual “Cherry Bomb” exhausts during the renovations. “It’s fun — it kind of adds a little meat to the truck.”
Up until May 2021, it was Anthony by day and Drunk Tony by night for Gaudio, but he recently made the food truck his full time gig. So, what’s next for the chef? Anthony says he’s right where he wants to be.
“I do wonder where I’m going to go after the truck,” he said. “I don’t know that I really want [a restaurant], especially after the last year that we’ve had. I’m cool with the truck.”
For Drunk Tony’s schedule, follow on Instagram @drunktonysfoodtruck.