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The future of food carts

October 18, 2011
Ape food cart

The Piaggio Ape as hotdog stand (Dreirad-Center Büsum photos)

My recent post about the Piaggio Ape RV seems to have struck a chord; whether it’s the idea of minimalist camping or minimalist versatility that resonates, I can’t say.

I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to find more information about the company that built that camper Ape (which, in case you didn’t know, is pronounced AH-pay), without success. But I did run across something equally interesting.

Dreirad-Center Büsum, a Piaggio Ape dealer near Hamburg, Germany, offers the three-wheeled hotdog stand pictured above. Yes, that’s what they call it. These days, Germans eat hotdogs. And drink Budweiser.

Hotdog cooker

As you can see, it’s a nifty setup for grilling ‘dogs and other tubular meat products. There are two sinks, and even a stereo! You’d not only be the envy of the food cart food court, but your operation is fully self-contained—no tow vehicle to mess with!

Dreirad (3-wheel in German) Center also offers coffee/wine bar versions, and even one from which you can serve cocktails! Well, in Europe anyway; U.S. liquor laws would probably make that difficult, if not impossible.

Then there’s the matter of being able to buy a new Ape in the U.S., which as far as I know, you can’t. You’d have to find one that’s more than 25 years old (doesn’t have to meet U.S. safety/emissions standards), then build your own food cart body on it. But then, under those circumstances, the possibilities are endless. Bratwurst, anyone? Favicon

  1. October 18, 2011 1:07 am

    It’s an interesting little machine there. Germans drinking Budweiser? Sigh… it’s the end of the world as we know it!

  2. October 19, 2011 7:52 am

    Not too long ago there were Baja 3 wheelers being sold here, and about 5 years ago I went and looked at them in Austin Texas at a place that had a small dealership for these.

  3. October 19, 2011 2:04 pm

    Casey, did you mean ‘Bajaj’? I remember seeing those advertised, but I don’t know how many dealers sold them. The Ape is a newer design, available with a steering wheel and pedals instead of a scooter-like headset. I’d rather have an Ape, personally…

  4. Jack Riepe permalink
    October 20, 2011 5:47 am

    Dear Orin:

    I wish one of these units was parked in my driveway, as I see this as the strongest career potential for the US. However, as anyone from New York can tell you, the best hot dogs are boiled, not cooked on a rotary grill.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  5. October 20, 2011 7:24 am

    Oops, yes I meant Bajaj, “Baja” really conjures up a whole different kind of three-wheeler!

    I actually have in my tiny garage a Bajaj three wheel truck from the early 80’s which is going to be brought back to life in the next year (time allowing).

    These little utes are perfect for grocery gettin’ here in Ballard, as a matter of fact, I have a neighbor 2 blocks away that has a new-ish Zap electric three-wheeler that is very similar to the newer Apes.

    Come to think of it, if these were more popular, three-wheeler rallys would be fun.

  6. October 20, 2011 12:58 pm

    I’m thinking, if I were to take the plunge and set myself up with one of these, I’d do crêpes—all you’d need is the round grill. Sweet in the morning, savory in the afternoon. I don’t imagine one would get rich doing that, but it sure beats spending so much time at the Starbucks, the baristas could call me ‘Norm’…

  7. Ken permalink
    October 27, 2011 1:29 am

    A three-wheeler rally would drive Mr Bean crazy! I still cannot look at an Ape without thinking about the Inspector in the Pink Panther and swimming pools.

    We can buy new Ape panel vans here in NZ; my Vespa dealer brought one in a year or so ago. Didn’t tear off the lot, but it did sell in time.

  8. MANOJIT permalink
    October 28, 2011 2:36 am


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