Posing in front of the Fire Up The Grill catering truck during our years at Friday After Five are:
Tim Meyer, Chris Meyer, Greg Bates, Jonathan Bates
Tim grilling during a Friday After Five event
OUR STORY begins in 1998. My daughter, Melissa Bates was needing a summer job to pay for college. Summer jobs were not easy to find and the pay was not great on the ones you could find. We already had a big grill that we used to cook for the Daviess County Band and that experience taught us how to cook for a lot of hungry people. When we cooked for the band I made several friends, one of those was Mark Hedges. Mark like to grill during band events and Mark's son Adam was in band with Melissa. Some how we teamed up and with the help of the Mom's we had a crew. Next we called the Friday After Five chairperson ansd asked if we could come down and sell hamburgers and hotdogs. We got a YES and the next Friday we packed up our S10 pickup with coolers of meat and cold drinks off we went. During our first season we made changes to our menu, changing from a burger format to pork chop, chicken breast, polish sausage and smoked brats. Pretty soon we were getting lines of people waiting to eat. The next season we added home made ice cream, now we were getting lines at both ends of our tent, it was starting to be fun and profitable too! During the second season we knew we needed a bigger truck, we were looking a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies going down the road, coolers pilled up on top of ice chests, ice tubs for the drinks strapped to the grill and having to load and unload twice a day. We found a step van with low miles and big enough to put in a complete kitchen with a refrigerator to keep our meat cold, gas stove and plenty of storage. At this point we were still operating on a temporary health department permitt and that didn't allow us to cut any meat on site. So we applied to Kentucky for a state wide mobile food permitt and with a few modifications from a licensed plumber we received our stste wide permitt. Things got a lot easier, we were a certified kitchen on wheels.
Our crew of Mark, Adam, Melissa and Myself did Friday After Five until Melissa and Adam graduated college, but things wern't over yet. I had one more to get through college, Jonathan, still in junior high school. Jonathan was in band and his best friend Chris Meyer was also. I knew Chris's Dad, Tim from band boosters and He liked to grill. We had a new crew. We finished nine seasons at Friday After Five, graduated four from various colleges and started catering as Fire Up The Grill soon after. Oh, I forgot to mention, our name during the college years was "Cooking 4 College", appropiately named by the health department inspector on our first inspection. Greg Bates