Food truck alert: Get the best Philly hoagies, help the hungry

Leftover food will be donated through Food Connect. And if the cart sells out? Philabundance gets cash.

Answering the question “Jaeatyet?” is about to get easier, both for fans of great hoagies and for people experiencing hunger.

Paesano’s is going mobile, with a noble goal.

Nathan Baynes, who helps chef Peter McAndrews run the popular Paesano’s sandwich shops, is launching A La Cart. There’s still some paperwork left to complete before it hits the streets, but the built-to-order trailer — not a full-on food truck, but more like a hot dog cart — is already available for catering.

A La Cart makes its public debut today at the Philabundance Hunger Action Month announcement, which makes sense on multiple levels.

Baynes’ wife, Stefanie Arck-Baynes, is deputy communications director for the hunger nonprofit, but there’s another connection: Once it’s on the road and vending to the public, any food left over at the end of the day will be donated to feed Philadelphia’s hungry via the Food Connect app. What’s more, when the cart has covered its startup costs, Baynes plans to make a monetary donation to Philabundance every time he sells out.

“It’s more about the philanthropic purpose than it is to just fatten up the public,” Baynes says. “Paesano’s is ‘Philly style hoagies’ and Philly is the City of Brotherly Love. We’re trying to help make sure everyone is fed.”

Of course, bringing Paesano’s to “as many people as we possibly can” is also part of the plan.

When it’s up and running, Baynes’ expects to offer around three different sandwiches on any given day — some hot, some cold, some with meat, some veg-only. He’ll also do housemade soup once the weather gets cold.

The timeline is still up in the air, Baynes says, because he’s still waiting on final approvals, and then there’s the process of getting picked for choice vending spots.

“It’s a series of hoops and merry-go-rounds,” he says. “The best places, there’s a three-year waiting list and then a lottery. If I could vend during the day in University City, that would be ideal.”

For now, A La Cart is available for office parties or other private events, like tailgating (pig roasts, yo). And if you’re craving Paesano’s, you can hit up the Northern Liberties location (now re-open in its larger home), the Italian Market location or the brand new outpost next to Temple on North Broad.

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