Conway’s food scene received another boost this weekend with the announcement that German food truck The WunderBus will be setting up its permanent location just blocks from the downtown area. Jacqueline and Auguste Forrester will be taking over the former Central Station on Locust Street and building a small eatery with both indoor and outdoor dining. For the brother-and-sister duo, the move is a realization of the goals they set forward when they opened The Wunderbus in 2015.
“Our intent was always to go to some sort of brick and mortar, a bigger operation,” said Jacqueline. “It was meant to be a vehicle for a bigger enterprise. The food truck aspect was supposed to be a forerunner of that, to learn how to run a business and get our name out there.”
Jacqueline says Central Station was always at the top of their list when it came to locations for a permanent spot. However, she says the owner originally didn’t want to lease to them, and they searched for months without finding anything. It was only after Auguste met with the owner one-on-one that they reached an agreement last week. The two sides quickly got the paperwork sorted, and work on the space is set to begin next week.
“It’s a beautiful blank space with plenty of parking, in a great neighborhood, near other wonderful local businesses,” said Jacqueline. “It made sense for us to do this, and while the price was a bit higher than we wanted, everything about it was just wonderful.”
The WunderBus will stay in operation while The WunderHaus (working title) is under construction. However, the food truck will be limited to private catering orders and larger events, like the Main Street Food Truck Festival. The first order of business at the new space will the building of a patio that will allow for some outdoor seating where the truck can pull right up and serve.
As for the menu, Jacqueline says it will be an extension of the small lineup she and Auguste can offer from the truck right now. The focus will remain on German-style street food, which will mean plenty of brats and braised pork dishes. However, she has hopes for working with local farmers and producers to expand the menu to European comfort food dishes that highlight Arkansas growers.
“Our big goal is a family-first restaurant before anything else,” said Jacqueline. “We want our family to flourish. We also see the value of doing business with other families. We want to invest our business in those families. All of this creates interdependence, and if we don’t invest in them on the front end, then there’s nothing that will separate us from anybody else.”
The WunderBus’s move is just the latest addition to a Conway food scene that is suddenly flourishing. The city already boasted a wide variety of coffee shops, and recently added Indian restaurant Tour of India and North Little Rock transplant Ceci’s Chicken and Waffles. As for when The WunderBus will officially join those ranks, Jacqueline Forrester is shooting for a late-September opening, though that is not yet official. We will keep you posted on their progress in the months ahead.