By Ciara Reid, staff reporter
WICHITA - As the weather gets colder, thoughts naturally turn to the warmer seasons and all that comes with it: baseball games, beer drinking on patios and porches, and delicious food trucks. Those lucky enough to live in the Wichita area should keep their eyes peeled for a food truck that looks like it could be the Barbie Dream Camper. Yep, you read that right: your next favorite food truck obsession will likely come in the form of the vehicle of our childhood dreams, aptly named Ken N Barbie’z Rollin Diner.
The owners of this magical food truck are Kelly Ake and Barbie Taber, a lesbian couple who have been together for more than three and a half years. To understand the story behind the name of the food truck, all you need to know is how they met.
“She invited me and a few other friends over to swim and eat,” Ake recalls. “When I found out her real name was Barbie, I popped off and said my name was f***ing Ken. We all laughed and so our friends kinda know the inside joke to Ken N Barbie.”
Ake says that Taber has always loved to cook and wanted to own her own restaurant. Ake is the complete opposite. One evening, the couple started seriously discussing the possibility of running their own food truck. The discussion spiraled from types of food they would offer, to looking at food trucks for sale.
“We started to look at food trucks immediately and went out of town to look at a truck in Lawrence,” Ake says. “I made some phone calls on all the licensing and BOOM it became a reality in about two to three weeks.”
Then the real work began. Taber painted the truck and created the decal, with Ake’s assistance. Soon, they were ready for business. Ken N Barbie’z offers a wide variety of drool-worthy fresh eats from Taber’s recipes; items include Philly steak sandwich, fajita fries, double Barbie burger (with homemade spicy sauce), homemade chicken strips, sriracha chicken rice, chicken parmesan, chicken and waffles, grilled club sandwich, grilled cheese with bacon, and chili dogs, to name a few.
Ake and Taber have already included the Rollin Diner at fall festivals, local breweries, the Mattox Arena in Derby for Barrel Racing, vintage Market Days at Hartman Arena, fundraising events, and the farmers market since launching the food truck over the first weekend of September.
And they already have several events booked for 2018, including Topeka for Equifest, Pro Rodeo in Strong City, and the Vintage Markets Days in May. Ake says they’re also interested in growing their events portfolio to include weddings, corporate events, graduations, reunions, and private parties. Currently, Ake and Taber work full-time jobs in addition to the food truck. The grand plan, says Ake, is to run the food truck full time.
For more information, visit the Facebook page at: Ken N Barbie’z Rollin Diner. l