BY MEGAN MANN
FOR THE OPELIKA OBSERVER
Hibachi on Wheels brings the excitement and flavor of Hibachi cooking straight to your door. The new food truck can cater your next tailgate, anniversary, birthday party or just about any event you want.
Eric Maldonado is the name behind this new business. Not only is he the chef who cooks all the delicious food and performs tricks for his parties, but he also provides everything customers need for a successful event.
“Hibachi on Wheels brings the entire experience of a restaurant to your place of choice,” Maldonado said. “I can bring the whole set up; table, chairs, utensils and set up the whole dinner. I bring side dishes as well, like the soups and salads.”
Not only does Hibachi on Wheels offer the experience of Hibachi cooking, but it can also provide buffet style meals for bigger events. Maldonado has already done many events, including a party of six for a family dinner to a big party of 40.
All the food for an event is bought fresh the day of and prepared in front of guests with the flare of fire tricks and knife flips. The price per plate for meals can range anywhere from $22 to $75 depending on what type of meat you select for your event.
Maldonado has a long background in Hibachi cooking. He was born in raised in Puerto Rico before he moved to the U.S. where he began working in a Japanese Steakhouse as a bus boy. He worked his way up from there, making the jump from a server to a chef.
“One day I heard about a chefs position opening up in Kentucky, so I began training myself more and took my trade there,” Maldonado said. “I’ve worked in five different states, including many restaurants all over Georgia, Kentucky, and Miami.”
For the past five years he has been one of the main Hibachi chefs at a local restaurant, Mikata Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar.
Maldonado decided it was time to make his transition from working for a restaurant to opening his own business primarily because he wants to be able to spend more time with his family.
“The biggest difference from moving to my own business from a restaurant is not having a staff,” Maldonado said. “At the restaurant you can use anybody. Right now I’m basically doing it by myself. I do have my fiancé though. Since my English isn’t perfect, she helps with my communication online.”
He hopes to expand his business and hire more help in the future when his business begins to pick up.
“Eventually I would like to expand,” he said. “I am working with the market right now moneywise because I don’t want to charge too much or too little. I want to be able to hire other staff members eventually though because right now it’s just me cooking. I want to be able to do bigger events like tailgates and fraternities.”
Get your next event catered by Hibachi on Wheels with Chef Eric to bring a fun, tasty and exciting experience to your party. You can book your event on his website at www.hibachionwheelscateri ng.com or contact him on Facebook at Hibachi on Wheels with Chef Eric.