A local cook is making the trip to the San Diego Chargers stadium with a one-year contract to be a vendor.
Chuck Cox, former owner of TC’s Point After, 719 Sixth Ave., is taking Chuckie’s Famous Iowa Breaded Pork Tenderloin to the stadium with the help of his wife, Sandy.
“This is a very exciting opportunity,” Cox said. “I never expected this.”
Chuckie’s will be open for business at the stadium starting Aug. 9 with the Chargers’ first exhibition game and open all season for not only Charger games, but also college games and events.
It all started five years ago, after Cox sold his business of 30 years.
When Cox was at spring training for the Chicago Cubs and noticed all the vendors, his curiosity grew on what it would take to start his own vendor business.
Soon he was serving his famous sandwich out of a rented trailer at events throughout the area and at spring training. After being a vendor for the Cubs training, he took his trailer out to Peoria, Ariz., to serve his tenderloin during Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres spring training.
“It has been a learning experience,” Cox said. “The first year it takes a while to get going and you have to hand out a lot of samples to get people to try your product, but after that the payoff has been great.”
Chuckie’s stayed busy selling around a thousand sandwiches the first year and around 3,000 this year and food service leaders took notice.
Representatives from Centerplate, the largest food service provider for the NFL, a major provider to professional baseball and partner with six of the top ten most active convention centers, loved Cox’s sandwiches and asked if he would be interested in being a vendor at the San Diego stadium.
After that Cox ditched the rented trailer and purchased his own.
The trailer will stay at the stadium until March and then go to spring training again. As far as future endeavors, Cox is open to just about anything. Recent offers include vending for the Arizona Diamond Backs and events as far as New Jersey. Chuckies also has a trailer in the Chicago area that is operated by hired staff.
“I’ll go all over the world,” Cox said. “The world needs to see the best breaded tenderloin.”
Cox brought his trailer to Anamosa to serve hungry RAGBRAI riders today and will be camped out at the Mississippi Valley Fair in Davenport briefly before heading to San Diego. Having been in the top five for several tenderloin competitions in Iowa, Cox is constantly working on his craft.
“My goal is to perfect the breaded tenderloin,” Cox said. “I think I’m pretty close.”