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What happens to Billings food trucks when winter hits?

What happens to Billings food trucks when winter hits?
Posted at 4:58 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 18:58:32-05

BILLINGS — In winter weather, most don't think about getting lunch from a food truck, and most trucks close for the winter. However, a few exceptions stay open year-round.

Kevin Campoy, the owner of Montana Melt food truck, said cold days like Tuesday are perfect for what he serves up.

“Today is the best kind of day for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup,” Campoy said Tuesday.

Montana Melt has been serving the Billings community for seven years and has stayed open in the winter for five of those years, all thanks to the heated shop where Campoy stores his truck.

“That way I don’t have to winterize the trailer. We don’t have to put antifreeze in any of the tanks. My tanks stay thawed and therefore I can keep going. As long as my tanks are thawed and my generator starts, we can serve grilled cheese sandwiches,” said Campoy.

Customers are taking full advantage of the food truck still being open, even if it means standing in the snow. Claire Dearing works in downtown Billings and was grateful to see Montana Melt parked outside.

“They have delicious food and it’s a perfect day for a hot sandwich,” Dearing said.

However, Campoy knows most food trucks can’t operate the way he does. Most close for the year or switch gears doing deliveries instead.

“The majority of the food trucks do close. You have a six-to-seven-month window, where you can make a lot, a lot of money and you can kind of save that and ride through the winter,” Campoy said.

There are a handful of other trucks that also brave the winter months, like Tup Tim Thai. Christoper and Srisuda Williams try to open their window as much as possible.

“If it’s like, above 35, 40 [degrees] we’ll be running. But if it's below that, it’s just kind of hard because when we fill up the freshwater tank, it’s going to freeze up when we run because we just can’t keep it warm enough,” Srisuda said.

Despite the cold Montana weather for many months, the Williamses have been serving Thai food year-round since 2019.

“She loves cooking for people. So, even when it’s this cold it doesn’t really matter,” Christopher said.

However, this winter will be a little different for both food trucks. Campoy will have surgery on his wrist in a few weeks that will close the truck down for three months. Srisuda is heading to visit her family in Thailand in January for five weeks.

But both trucks are looking forward to serving customers when they get back - rain, shine or snow.