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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Giving Chicken a Whole New Cluck

Marco Pollo food truck at September Street Eats

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Milwaukee’s food truck scene has steadily gained popularity over the last few years. Mobile restaurants continue to pop up each summer and the variety is becoming quite impressive. One of the newest is Marco Pollo Global Cluck Truck, which hit the streets for the first time this May.

Marco Pollo is owned and operated by University School of Milwaukee teacher Stephen Bloch and his students, Marshall Lerner and Zach Nelsen, the three of whom collectively came up with the idea out of their love for eating and preparing food. “For a couple of months, we toyed with the idea of starting a food truck with the help of Marshall’s father, Jay, who is a bit of an entrepreneur. We started to play around in the kitchen with ideas and then decided to do it. Jay helped with the business plan and start up after the six-month search for a truck,” says Bloch.

If the name didn’t give it away, chicken is this food truck’s cuisine du jour. But don’t be mistaken—they aren’t serving up your ordinary clucker. Marco Pollo offers between six and seven dishes revolving around a crispy, lightly hand-breaded or grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast served with the trio’s distinct globally inspired homemade sauces on a bed of jasmine rice. “We try to make our sauces global in nature to fit with our name, Marco Polo, a 13th-century explorer,” says Bloch. “I think we are offering something truly unique to Milwaukee in terms of fare. Nobody else offers international chicken dishes.” A few of their plates are the Malaysian “Kuala Curry,” Thai “Siam I am,” Tex-Mex “Marcocito’s Plato” and Creole “The Big Easy,” and they also just started carrying eggrolls. “That’s the only item we don’t make from scratch. They come from Momma, who has a business out of Burlington, and are the best eggrolls I’ve ever had,” Bloch says. Marco Pollo also offers soda, water and fudge brownies.

“Our first summer has been an incredible journey. We are literally the new kids on the block and it’s been remarkable how many people are talking about us, looking for us, coming up with nicknames for us,” says Bloch. “We are teacher/student run and owned and I think that makes us pretty special. Our food makes us really special.”

Marco Pollo Global Cluck Truck is simmering down as summer comes to an end, but will be featured at the Shepherd Express’ Street Eats event from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, at Catalano Square in the Third Ward. Look for the truck painted by artist Adam Nilson (visit facebook.com/marcopollomke to see photos).