This is Nominee Spotlight, a series in which the Best of Western Washington chats with local business owners to get the inside scoop on everything good.
We caught up with Julie Little — the owner, operator and "chief grunt" — of Jemil's Big Easy to get the goods on one of Seattle's most popular food trucks. The story behind Jemil's Big Easy dates back 7 years, when Julie and Executive Chef, Jemil Aziz volunteered together at the Ribbon Culinary Center where they both served on the board and worked with kids to teach cooking basics.
After years of friendship and a deep desire to bring Jemil's cajun cooking to the people of Western Washington, the food truck was born. The truck concept gives the team instant feedback and satisfaction; according to Julie, there's "nothing like seeing the line forming!" It's a family affair as well with Jemil's wife, Pat, and daughter, Candace, on board.
What's your favorite way to keep in touch with customers? Well, our very favorite way is to watch their expressions when they bite into a po-boy a la Jemil! Holy Cow! We use twitter and facebook every day to post our specials and keep in touch with our customers!
Who at your staff makes everything run smoothly? That would be me.
How would you describe your clientele? Hungry! We serve down at Amazon, and Starbucks, and various other locations. These are people that love comfort food, and trying something new! They aren't vegan, sometimes they are veg, but mostly they don't count calories. They count on us!
What's your favorite story about a customer? The skeptical lady from New Orleans who was convinced she couldn't get NOLA food here in Seattle, but one bite of Jemil's gumbo and it looked like she was having an orgasm. She ordered 10 bowls to take home to the family!
What's the most popular dish right now? Jemil's Blackened Catfish Po-Boys and Jambalaya are neck and neck. Plus his daily specials like Crawfish Monica. Muffalettas are popular, too. I make the bread fresh every morning by hand, because we can't get proper Sicilian bread for Muffalettas in Seattle. Jemil makes the Muffaletta relish. They are damn authentic!
What do you order? A deep fried Shrimp Po-Boy. No one fries quite like Jemil. Jemil says he can hear the oil — it tells him when the item is done frying. I can't hear a damn thing different. But he can.
What's it like driving the truck? Too scary for me. Jemil has to drive. But since his face is decaled to the side of the truck, it's funny to watch people do a double take as he drives.
Published in: interviews