Press Club

Rebel Heroes Invade Ballston

A new food truck made its debut today. Rebel Heroes, which serves up cheap, delicious Vietnamese-Latin fusion sandwiches, parked near the Ballston Metro and attracted a sizable lunchtime crowd.

Like D.C. food truck veterans Fojol Brothers, On the Fly, and Sweetflow Mobile, Rebel Heroes uses Twitter to announce its location.

“We’re doing pretty well so far just by Twittering,” co-owner Tan Nguyen said, shortly after an all-out assault on the truck by hungry office workers.

She said she got the idea for a Banh Mi truck a decade ago but didn’t decide to actually go for it until last year, when food trucks began enjoying a surge in publicity and commercial success.

Planning began last fall. Today the truck served its first customers.

“Vietnamese is perfect for food trucks… [and] spring is the perfect time to have a food truck,” Nguyen said.

Rebel Heroes lets patrons customize their sandwiches by checking boxes on a small paper order form. Nguyen said the food’s Latin flare, and the ingredient options, make her Banh Mi-style sandwiches more accessible than similar fare from Northern Virginia’s numerous brick-and-mortar Vietnamese restaurants.

Nguyen claims culinary inspiration from her mother, who provided some of the recipes, and from her friend Josie Smith-Malave, a contestant on Top Chef season two. Smith-Malave is not formally affiliated with the truck.

Rebel Heroes will be exclusively serving Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor until this summer, when Nguyen hopes to secure the necessary permits to operate in the District. She says it’s easier to operate a food truck in Arlington due to the District’s heavily bureaucratic permitting process.

Eventually, Nguyen hopes to establish a schedule that will take the truck to points in D.C. and Arlington on a regular basis.

Rebel Heroes will be serving both breakfast (including coffee) and lunch (including chips and Mexican fruit sodas), starting as early as 7:30 a.m.

This week only, they’re offering a coupon for a free sandwich with the purchase of a drink or a bag of chips.

More photos, after the jump.

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