Straight outta Bombay

Sid Panchal works the window and serves authentic Indian street food out of his St. Louis-area food truck, Bombay Food Junkies.

Sid Panchal works the window and serves authentic Indian street food out of his St. Louis-area food truck, Bombay Food Junkies.

Inspired by a reality television show and missing the foods from his homeland, Siddharth “Sid” Panchal, who earned a master’s degree in computer science from Missouri S&T in 2003, opened Bombay Food Junkies in 2013. The Mumbai, India, native and his wife, Krupa, serve vegan and vegetarian meals from their food truck at St. Louis-area hospitals, industrial parks and college campuses, dishing out authentic Indian street food.

The business idea started when the couple watched “The Great Food Truck Race” on the Food Network. That was enough to spark the idea of delivering authentic street food to the people of St. Louis.

The samosa chole - pictured here - is the biggest seller at Bombay Food Junkies.

The samosa chole – pictured here – is the biggest seller at Bombay Food Junkies.

Panchal started scouring Craigslist for vehicles that could be converted into food trucks and called local food truck operators for tips and hints. After finding a truck, the couple launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised the necessary funds to get the truck wrapped in banners and fully modified. Less than two years after opening, Bombay Food Junkies took second place in a Best Vegetarian Food Truck competition sponsored by mobile-cuisine.com.

“The key to our success is finding what foods sell and where,” explains Panchal. “Our samosa chole is the biggest seller, while veggie burgers were a surprise flop. Picking the right location is important too; not all scenes are looking for a vegetarian option.”

The Panchals park their Bombay Food Junkies food truck for lunch, dinner and special occasions at locations throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, including the corporate headquarters of Wells Fargo Advisors.

The Panchals park their Bombay Food Junkies food truck for lunch, dinner and special occasions at locations throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, including the corporate headquarters of Wells Fargo Advisors.

Krupa runs the day-to-day operations of the truck, while Sid, a senior consultant for project management at Daugherty Business Solutions in St. Louis, helps out at the truck some weeknights and on weekends.

“My wife was used to driving a Honda Civic, and suddenly she had to learn to drive a 28-foot truck filled with two refrigerators, a three-compartment sink and two pizza ovens,” says Sid. “But we haven’t had any accidents yet and are still going strong. The business is now over two years old.”

Story by Peter Ehrhard

Photos by Sam O’Keefe

Adapted from the Spring 2015 issue of Missouri S&T Magazine.

Comments

  1. Ashok Midha says:

    Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of the “Bombay Food Junkies!” Wonderful, and inspiring too! There is a good Bollywood movie to be made somewhere in here …!

  2. Michael Slusar says:

    That is really cool. He should consider driving his truck to Rolla and sell his food for Celebration of Nations.

  3. rasesh desai says:

    All the best Sid & Krupa , it takes lots of guts to do what you both have done. way to go BOMBAY FOOD JUNKIES

  4. Norman Cox says:

    A great idea! Lots of potential. Go for it, Sid!

  5. Cady Holmes says:

    I had the pleasure of eating at Bombay Food Junkies this weekend. I had samosas and they were delicious! If you ever in St. Louis definitely check them out!

%d bloggers like this: