Last month, you followed your gut and voted Excaliburger as Little Rock's Favorite Food Truck. Now, with the Main Street Food Truck Festival just days away, take a minute to get to know Kyle Pounders, the brains behind the "burg slangin'."
What made you want to get into the food truck game?
KP: I have always been in the food game, I just added a truck to it. All my life I wanted to be in the kitchen with The Madre and Meemaw Jeri. Every time there was food and entertainment going on, I wanted to be a part of what was happening in the kitchen so I could learn something new from anyone who could teach me. My friends' moms loved me. I failed at a thousand things and worked restaurants during the interstitial times. It's just always been home, and there's nothing else I want to be doing every day.
Where did your knack for "burg slangin'" come from?
KP: It's food. If it's food, I'll cook it, or at least give it my best go and learn something. All I started Excaliburger with was the word Excaliburger, which I thought was the most valiant name ever, so I created a concept around that.
There is no such thing as a "greatest _____ in the world," whether it be a vehicle, song or hamburger. One person won't call it the best if it has even a dot of mustard, but the next won't call it "the best" unless it does. One day I stopped trying to compete with the big kids and please everyone and sat down to create what I considered to be the perfect hamburger. The hopes were that the world would at least agree enough that I could pay my bills.
Tell us more about your mantra of "Do one thing, do it well."
KP: I'm very distractible. My mind is always juggling and developing approximately 7-62 new ideas and projects at any given time. "Do one, thing do it well" was never supposed to be a thing, I just need constant reminders to always esteem the fundamentals. I guess other people started picking up on me saying that? Who knows?
It's also how I built the business. We literally do one thing. Yeah, you can get chicken instead of beef or whatever, but they're prepared the same way. This allows us to put all the lovin' we can muster in one thing done well instead of getting clutter-headed and blurry-eyed with too many moving parts.
What's one thing you wish more people knew about Excaliburger?
KP: I do a classic, griddle-fired, diner-style burger — but I'm coming at it with the highest level of passion and integrity I can forge. There is as much pride and scrutiny in every order sent from Excaliburger as there is from any restaurant you've been to.
Look up Temple Grandin, she is one of the truly great humans alive today. Temple designed the Creekstone Farms facility where our beef is processed; it's the highest quality (including the most humane) place I can find. If I find something better, I'll switch. Andy at Old Mill worked with me for months to find the perfect bun and flawlessly executes every order I place.
These things are essential. This is who I am and this is who Excaliburger is and that will never change.
What are you most excited about for this year's Main Street Food Truck Festival?
Getting to trade Benjamin Laffoon some of my burgers for some of his alligator tails. He has the Cypress Knee trailer and everything on his menu revs my engine, but especially the alligator tails. In fact, can I pass along the "You get to pick your spot at MSFTF" to him? The world needs to know who he is.
Are you serving any special menu items?
Do one thing, do it well.
And we have to ask. Where did the sword come from?
It came from this old hag who goes by the name "The Lady of The Lake." She was the Queen of Avalon and the sword itself was made by an Avalonian Elf. It got passed around for about a thousand years, sat at the bottom of a lake for a while, got stuck in a rock, was wielded by King Arthur for a spell whilst he and Merlin were still kicking it regularly. Summer 2009, I took it home from Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Johnny found it and gave it to me. So I melted it down into thousands of little swords and we stick them in our burgers now.
Where can people find Excaliburger out in the wild?
Hillcrest every Monday night. We will be revamping our schedule game in the spring.
The Main Street Food Truck Festival is set for 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.