Since its inception 7 months ago, The Taste of the Midwest has been on the road to success in Houston’s food scene.
Trayon and Tiffany Myers lived their dream, serving Houstoners their signature Italian beef sandwiches, pizza leaves and a mild sauce, a nod to their Chicago roots, and had worked their way around town from gas stations to apartment complexes to weddings.
They even recently landed a spot at Houston’s newest food truck park, Houston Grub Park. Highlighting a diverse cuisine from more than 30 food trucks owned by Black, the park opened near the NRG Stadium in July and is already a huge success, according to the organizers.
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The Taste of the Midwest got off to a great start, but that dynamic was short-lived.
On Saturday night, near Chimney Rock Road and the Southwest Freeway, the truck was suddenly shredded by a car with a T-bone, rendering it completely inoperable with damage to the front of the vehicle and all equipment inside.
“The other driver ran over a red light that was probably almost 100 mph,” said Tiffany.
The police later told them the driver was drunk, she said.
Trayon, who was driving a car at the time, suffered bruised ribs in the accident, but recovered.
“We are so blessed that the accident happened on this passenger side.”
After the accident, the couple went back to try to save all of the food but couldn’t even open the door.
Tiffany and Trayon Myers were just starting a business boom with their new food truck, The Taste of the Midwest, now they are forced to start over after a quick accident.
Courtesy The Taste of the Midwest
“Our truck is so strong and built to last,” said Tiffany, “so to do that much damage in a second, we were taken back.”
“It was as if a bomb had exploded inside. Everything (was) bolted, so everything was loose.”
The couple’s dream – one that came true after Trayon lost his job at an oil and gas company that closed and cost a year of hard work and thousands to build – derailed in seconds.
Now they are forced to start over.
“That’s the hardest part,” said Tiffany. “How do we build up again when we are still in debt with all the initial investments? And this time faster. Nobody has a year left to build the truck.”
Their startup debt is about $ 50,000, and a new truck could easily cost another $ 40,000 with no additional equipment they’d need.
And with five children, two of whom are preparing to go to college next week, Tiffany said it was very stressful financially as the truck was the main source of college income. But she remains confident that this is just one obstacle that they will eventually overcome.
“All we want to do is open our doors and get back to making a living,” she said. “We just want to go back to work. It’s a waiting game and that’s the worst because every day the doors are closed it’s just a loss of income.”
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Christopher Bush, who serves as the director of Black Service Chamber, the organizer of Houston Grub Park, walked into a private Facebook group on Tuesday calling on the community to help the couple get back on their feet.
“One of us is in dire straits,” wrote Bush.
“They have lost their livelihood and will endure serious financial hardship without a functioning food truck.”
He ended the post with a link to the couple’s GoFundMe page.
Instead of support, the Post met with criticism, as many questioned whether the company was insured and adequately prepared for such a loss.
Tiffany said the couple contacted their insurance company immediately after the accident but hadn’t heard anything. Even with full coverage, she said, the amount they get – $ 10,000 – is only a minute of what they actually need.
The comments became so negative that Bush later switched them off.
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But some showed their support through donations and others were quick to defend the Myers, citing some of the shortcomings of the insurance companies.
Trina Brooks-Hamilton, who identified as the current food truck owner and former insurance surveyor, shared her experience.
“The insurance company will back down, take its time, and sometimes persevere with payment,” she wrote.
“As a food truck owner, it can cost up to $ 100,000 to buy a vehicle, remove it, replace its contents, and everything else. Please stop beating people up. Your $ 5 support could be a blessing. t, that is your decision, but stop being so critical. “
By Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised just over $ 3,000 of the $ 40,000 goal.