The restaurant business is a world unto itself; a world where success is dependent upon several integral elements—daily specials, fast-paced service and regular customers, to name a few. The Gypsy Queen Café not only embodies these quintessential ingredients, but adds a flavor that is all its own; the food is prepared and sold from a truck that travels throughout the city.
From Boston Street in Canton, to Pratt Street in the Inner Harbor, to Green Street by the University of Maryland, this bright purple, pink and green truck spends its days living up to its name as it moves through the byways of Baltimore.
“We go all over the city,” said Tom Looney, a Baltimore resident who has been working in the food truck for over three years; the restaurant business for over 40. “It offers a unique perspective because we travel to a lot of different neighborhoods.”
One of Looney’s favorite parts of the job is experiencing the underbelly of a city that is more prominently known for its sports and its nightlife.
“You can see how the city is really integrative as far as all the different types of people who live in the city,” Looney said. “Every language, every color—having all those people as customers makes you realize that people are not all that different.”
With the exception of inclement weather, the Gypsy Queen Café ventures out every day between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., or until they run out of food. Considering the queue that wraps around the truck as people line up during their lunch breaks, running out of food is not all that unbelievable.
Regular customer Gene Taylor has worked at Baltimore’s National Aquarium for 26 years. He has been visiting the “Queen” for his lunch break for the past few years.
“It’s a great service for those of us who work downtown,” he said. “I like to support the locals, especially the food trucks because the majority of them are local. I really like that it is something a little different than the norm.”
Laughing, Taylor adds that his wife is a teacher, and is often jealous of his lunchtime meals since Carroll County schools “don’t have venues like this.”
Behind Taylor in line is Sam Eddy, first-time Gypsy Queen customer. Taylor recommends the curried chickpea tacos and the curried falafel, and Eddy heeds his advice.
“I’ve never been here before,” Eddy said. “I was just walking down the street and the truck caught my eye. When I saw the line I figured it had to be something delicious.”
As long as the customers are satisfied, Looney considers his job well done.
“Underneath, everyone is the same,” Looney said. “Everyone loves good food. It’s fantastic, as far as I’m concerned.”
The Gypsy Queen’s sibling, Lil’ Gypsy, can also be found throughout the city between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.