The Gastro Gnomes


Originally published for Varla.com and Varla Magazine in Fall 2015


The term ‘gastronome’ is defined as ‘a lover of good food’ by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. The Gastro Gnomes of Lexington, Kentucky are creating a love of great food among their patrons by applying their combined 30 years of fine dining experience to street food. With dishes named Hillybilly Hash, Get’em to the Greek Burger, and Man Candy, the daily menu is always different and full of flavor as well as creativity.

“We deliver a quick product that is made fresh, that’s locally sourced, but we do it in a timely fashion and we do it from scratch.” Said co-owner and Chef Andrew Suthers.

Chef Andrew Suthers and co-owner Chef Kyle Klatka have cut their teeth in the restaurant industry learning the ropes of fine dining from steakhouses to hotels on the east coast and Midwest. They were working together in a new establishment in Lexington, Ky as a Chef and Sous Chef team, but their situation changed when the restaurant decided to modify the concept overnight.

“We kinda woke up one day without a job, and a case of beer later we were like ‘well what if we just opened a food truck’, We sat at {Kyle’s} dining room table and it took off, started a kickstarter that night.” Suthers said.

At the end of the campaign $14,000 was raised and not long after the street art inspired food truck hit the road conquering the breweries around Lexington. The gnome concept was influenced by the 1985 cartoon David the Gnome.

The key to carving their niche in the food scene was to always have a burger on the ever changing 5 item menu. Albeit there is always a different flare instead of your standard cheeseburger. From wasabi mayos, kimchi, shrimp and crab etouffee, bruchetta, and avacado crema with a sunny side up egg you may think The Gnomes just throw a pin at the wall to create their burgers. The burgers are grass and grain fed from a local farm that sources specifically to them. Tacos, brats, steak tips and a long list of dishes and desserts also have a place on the menu with a certain spin.

“We are that ever changing pirate ship. At the end of the day it’s like ‘let’s just do whatever we want and not apologize for it’,” Suthers said. “We never thought it was going to work we were terrified at first, I was like ‘I guarantee in six months we change our concept and we’re doing grilled cheese or something stupid’.”

Even though food trucks are new to central Kentucky foodies and fans are continuing to show support as The Gastro Gnomes continue to grow in their second year of operation and have become a staple in the craft beer scene.

“We have guys who eat off this truck 5 days a week. We have groupies,” Suthers said. “I got into this game just because I love the reaction from people. I love that first bite look, I get to see that now.”

A recent crowd favorite that garnered some international attention was the buttermilk fried chicken and waffle cone. They’re also not afraid to venture into uncharted territory with the recent experiment and success of featuring Black Reef Tip Shark Tacos.

“It was nice wearing the white coat and looking prim and proper and making the pretty food I have nothing but respect for that game but it wasn’t for us, we found our niche, I think we are happier now.”

The future for The Gastro Gnomes is looking brighter every day with opportunities for bigger festivals and a possible collaboration with a local brewery for a brick and mortar. You can track the truck around Lexington 5-6 days a week at one of their regular spots.

They can also be found on social media.

www.facebook.com/eatwelldiehappy www.twitter.com/eatwelldiehappy

Instagram: @eatwelldiehappy