One of the first food trucks to hit the streets of Charleston, Roti Rolls has been named one of the “26 Best Food Trucks in America” by Food Network. Affectionately called the “Green Machine,” the truck was established by Cory Burke in 2010 when the concept of food trucks was still a developing trend. Since then, Roti’s won CP‘s Best Of Charleston award every year and has received praise from top publications including Forbes, USA Today, and Thrillist.
With this latest accolade, Roti gets a nice additional feature as the first in a list of 26, finding good company alongside Kogi BBQ Taco Truck in L.A, one of first food trucks ever established. “Just to be mentioned in an article with Kogi, the godfather of food trucks, is super cool. He was the first to really make food trucks a thing,” says Burke. “Our original model was adapted from what he did. He’d set up in secret locations and just tweet out where the truck was going to be. He was really the first one to create that whole craze of finding the truck. To create that level of excitement is something we’ve always tried to do.”
Other than the multiethnic explosion of flavors in every dish — like the Eye Opener, made with smoked pork, kimchi, a sunny egg, verde, and greens — the truck is known for its farm to truck focus. “We’ve kept the same relationships with the farmers since 2010. The goal has always been to support local farmers and purveyors,” says Burke.
Everything from Korean to Caribbean to Latin to Southern flavors are represented. The unifying element in every dish is the roti, an Indian flatbread. “Our menu is constantly evolving. Although, we do have a couple of staples that, if we take them off, people get pissed, so we always make sure they’re there. Those are the Thurman Murman, the Mother Clucker, and the Funky Farmer.”
Burke credits his team for Roti’s incredible growth. Because of his partnership with Alton Ankersen and chef Cameron Wetzler, he was able to set up a second truck in Atlanta where he now lives. “I can’t speak highly enough of Cam and Alton. They’ve been doing an amazing job in Charleston and every year it’s just gotten bigger and better,” he says. “I value that relationship so much, and the growth together has been phenomenal.”
And the Roti crew isn’t stopping with Atlanta. “We’ve been approached by restaurateurs and owners of food halls in Charlotte, Atlanta, and Charleston,” says Burke. “We’re looking at this as organically as we can in that we always want to be a food truck, but we also want to see what that next best option is. Is it a full restaurant, a food hall, or maybe expanding more into the catering world? We expanded our catering this last year and it’s been really successful.”
The Green Machine has also been known to hit the highway on tour rolling from one music festival to another. The flexibility of food trucking keeps it a constant adventure. “Every year is so different,” says Burke. “We’ll tell ourselves that we’re going to focus on one route, but then we get pulled in other directions and just go with it. That’s truly the beauty of the mobile food industry.”