Jesse and Michelle Kline, husband-and-wife co-owners of Gypsy Kitchen Food Truck, have a lot of good memories of Fountain City Park. The two met at Litton’s Restaurant, where they both worked in the kitchen. Michelle also worked at The Creamery for six years until it burned down.
“The park was my view,” Michelle said.
Add to that growing up in the area, raising a daughter just over the ridge in Halls, countless birthdays and afternoons in the park. Jesse’s brother even got married there.
So, it makes sense that Gypsy Kitchen has partnered with Fountain City Lions Club to be a seasonal food truck at Fountain City Park. And Gypsy Kitchen will donate 10 percent of earnings at the park to the Fountain City Lions Club. Along with free vision screenings and eyeglasses, the Fountain City Lions Club maintains Fountain City Park and Fountain City Lake.
“The Lions Club is a good thing. They put so much good out into the community. They do a lot of good in Fountain City and other places, too,” said Michelle.
The Klines both have long resumes in Knoxville restaurant kitchens. They worked opposite shifts when their daughter was small to make sure someone was home with her all the time. One day, Jesse came home and said he was done. The restaurant where he worked at the time had gone to a 365-day-per-year format, meaning they’d be open Christmas and Thanksgiving. After careful consideration, they invested in a food truck and went into business for themselves.
“We had really good luck with awesome family members who helped us out and got us started,” Michelle said. “We jumped in with both feet and said surely we can do this.”
While both Klines work on the truck, Jesse designs the menus and Michelle takes care of the business side. The Gypsy Kitchen gets its name because their food comes from all over, otherwise known as eclectic. Popular items include pork loin sandwich with pesto and homemade boursin cheese, hot catfish, Southwestern pork egg rolls made to order, and much more.
“It’s not all fried stuff. Jesse is willing to try just about anything and cook it, too. We try to have something for the foodie that might want something different, but also chicken tender baskets because people have kids,” Michelle said.
During certain seasons, the truck even has a prime rib sandwich.
Right now, Gypsy Kitchen plans to visit the park Friday and Saturday evenings, and they’ll try some weekend lunches, too.
“I am so glad to see stuff happening at the park and in Fountain City,” said Michelle. “Not everybody wants to go downtown every First Friday. It’s nice to have something on this side of town.”
For more information about Gypsy Kitchen, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Gypsykitchenknoxville/