Since opening in June 2013, husband-and-wife team Talita Luna-Stackpole and Chris Stackpole have been serving up delicious Brazilian-American food like rissolis, empadas, and brigadeiros from their truck, Lady Copacabana. Talita graciously took some time to answer our questions about the food truck business for PVDFT.
What did you do before you had the food truck?
Chris was a bartender at Mohegan Sun casino for 10 years and I was a lawyer in Brazil for 5 years and a waitress at Hard Rock Cafe at Foxwoods.
How would you describe your food?
Traditional Brazilian food with a gringo twist.
What makes your truck awesome?
I think it’s a mix of my food and my husband’s “song and dance” outside of the truck. I’m the lady behind the recipes and he is the guy outside making sure everyone understands what Brazilian food is, making sure people know we DON’T sell tacos in Brazil, and the fact that we have a changing menu and we offer desserts as well.
What’s the best part about running this business and what is your biggest challenge?
The best part is being our own bosses and meeting different people. The biggest challenge is keeping our menu always changing so people don’t get bored and know that we are able to make different dishes, and keep them coming back because they don’t see the same exact thing every day.
What would you say is your most popular item?
Most popular is the COPACABANA stroll, my husband’s idea of having a sampler of the typical and Brasilmerican food sold on Copacabana Beach.
What’s the best reaction someone has had to your food?
There was one guy that never had have Brazilian food so he bought one of my rissolis “just to try” so he barely got past our truck and finished his rissolis and turned back and said, “This is so good that I want few more!”
What is the best thing you’ve EVER eaten had from a food truck/cart? Which truck was it and where?
Best thing I’ve had from a food truck was the passion fruit sorbet from Mario (Plouf Plouf’s) in Providence–absolutely delicious.
Tell us more about the rissolis.
My husband calls us the “Home of the Rissolis (pronounced His O’ Lees). We were in my city, Marilia São Paulo, Brazil, and I told him we needed to go to my mother’s house because my neighbor was coming to teach me how to make fried dough. He laughed and said, “In Rhode Island we stretch a piece of dough and throw it in a pan of oil.” At this point he claims I said, “No, stupid, it’s different!” And when he woke up from his nap later, and the rissolis were made, he said, “It’s a baked ravioli but it’s fried!” My neighbor taught me how to make the dough and they are usually stuffed with beef or chicken and stuff. I started to make them when we came home and started having parties for our friends and co-workers whom all encouraged us to open the truck.
Any final words?
I want to bring Brazilian food to RI and show to people that you don’t need to be a Chef to bring good food… If you cook with your heart and believe in what you do that would be a reflection on what you serve to your customers!