The story of Soup Shack, a new food truck at the corner of Zion Road and Highway 265 in Fayetteville, is really a story about family.
“I’ve always loved to cook, even in my high school years I loved to cook,” Carin Evans says. But it was cooking with her husband’s mother and grandmother, making “everything you can imagine for breakfast,” cleaning up and immediately starting lunch and the same with supper, when she learned to cook without recipes and make some of her family and friends’ favorite meals.
Son Lee takes over the story, which is hard for anyone to get through without tears. After starting to work outside the home when her kids were grown, she lost her job three years ago. A few months after that, she was found to have two brain aneurysms, one of which had bled. The chances of surviving that are pretty low, never mind recovering.
“I was the lucky one,” she said.
Years later she was still cooking for family and friends, and late last year Lee asked for some potato soup when he wasn’t feeling well. He said that she should have a food truck, but she said she couldn’t afford one.
So he bought it for her.
The trailer is cozy but well laid out for making soups, sandwiches and salads, as well as breakfast sandwiches and other goodies.
Carin says they spent seven or eight months planning, budgeting and working on the menu, which includes classics like that potato soup and chicken salad sandwiches, as well as healthier fare like chicken berry salads.
“That was fun,” she said, “getting together at night and making the things and measuring” to allow for consistency in recipes that had been passed down without being written down.
They say the menu tries to balance robust and healthy options, and Carin says “we just kind of went with what the people I’ve cooked for ask for.”
Three soups are offered daily, as well as a selection of five salads and five sandwiches. Apple dumplings made from Lee’s great-grandmother’s recipe are the desert option.
“I’ve been making these for about 45 years,” she said.
Another popular menu item is the ultimate grilled cheese, which piles three kinds of cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes, avocado and garlic aioli on homemade rosemary bread developed from a recipe Lee’s coworker uses.
Carin says making things by hand is really important to her.
“We want everything to be as fresh as it can be,” she said. “I can stand in the kitchen for 15 hours cooking and be as relaxed as if I’d just taken a nap.”
One thing that makes the truck a little different is that they encourage people to order online or through their app to pick up their food when it’s convenient for them. That means less standing around at busy times for customers, and gives Carin the ability to focus on the food in the kitchen.
Lee said only a few days into the business about 80 percent of their orders were coming in online.
“I think it accommodates today’s lifestyle,” he said.
Carin said having the truck is “a dream, definitely a dream come true.”
“I’m just really blessed to be here, first of all, and doubly blessed to have this now,” she said.
Following food-related dreams runs in the family, she said, describing how her mother “passed a legend on” in the form of her kettle corn inspired by what she found on trips to Branson and that is now sold in Harps stores and elsewhere.
“I’d like to leave a legend to my kids, maybe it will be the Soup Shack.”