It's not easy being cheesy

Junior Burger
2013/02/15 16:09:15
Hey all, newbie here! I've been reading some really good information here for a while so I thought it time to chime in. I'm down in Louisiana and I've just purchased an 18' Airstream for a steal and I'm going to convert it to a food truck. It's not the traditional food truck, I won't be cooking, I'll be a mobile cheese shop. You can go all over Europe and find these awesome trucks and trailers that sell cheese in these built-in refrigerated deli counters, but can't seem to find any here in the states so I'm creating one, or at least something similar to one.
I need to have my deli case pretty low, so that when the customer is standing on the outside of the truck, the deli case is at eye level with them so they can see the cheeses. So I need a big opening, at least 5 feet wide. It would be just like walking into a shop, up to the counter, tasting samples, etc. so a sliding door or window won't work for me, I basically need the side of the trailer opened up. There are a couple of panels that can be removed to accomplish this, so I don't think (fingers crossed) any cutting will have to be done. I will just need to figure out how to close it up when I'm done.
My biggest question is what type of door/window/etc.  can I use to close up and lock down.  
Does anyone have any experience with roll up doors on their trucks? I don't see them around too much on trailers and I never hear anyone talking about them but I've seen some online specifically for RV's and trucks. I've managed to find someone who can install it for me if I use that. I've seen some installed on the inside as well as outside and I don't know which would be better and why, are they leak proof, are they a pain to deal with, etc....?
I've seen a lot of trucks/trailers with the gull-wing type of opening that's also used as an awning. They are usually on smaller trailers I think. Now, I am a girl and I don't know much about construction or building things, but it seems to me that if I use that type of door on this large of an opening it would throw my trailer off balance....? and/or be heavy as all heck...? and not everyone seems to like those gas pistons either so how else do you hold it up? 
Any insight, opinions or things to consider in making a decision would be much appreciated!
Rollin Smoke
Junior Burger
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/15 16:19:08
How big do you need your opening to be for the customers?
I do not suggest a roll-up limits your overhead space in your Airstream.
Junior Burger
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/15 17:16:16
the customers need to be able to see the cheese. I will be standing behind the case talking with them and cutting and sampling. So I need almost the full height of the trailer between them on the outside and me on the inside.
Rollin Smoke
Junior Burger
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/15 17:33:36
Because of the shape of Airstreams, it going to be tough. The only thing i can think of is to get someone who is a pro at cutting metal and feels comfortable cutting a huge hole in your Airstream and re enforce the cut piece.Then use it as your opening with the gas shocks. You also need to find out from you health department if all openings need to be screened like mine in NC. If so then you have a whole other set of problems due to the shape. Hope this helps
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/16 11:16:39
What Rollin said about height. I have converted a 18' 1957 Silver Streak before, pretty much the same thing as what you are working with. Unless your a hobbit a roll up on the inside will make it really short.
Your best bet is finding someone experienced in metal fabrication and having them use the existing panel, reinforcing it, and putting prop shocks on it. That way you will have a really nice awning to keep the rain out as well as a service window. From there, measure out the height of your deli case and install a sliding window above that height so you have a screened and sliding window on top, deli case on the bottom, nice cover to keep things safe and keep the rain off.
Find someone who knows what they are doing, once you cut you can't put it back without it looking like crap.
If you want, email me at alice.mckenna1 at gmail dot com. Will send you over some inspiration.
post edited by a.mckenna - 2013/02/16 11:25:53
Filet Mignon
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/16 11:37:24
People in Europe eat a bit different than we do. I would ask myself if people know enough about cheese in the USA to yield having a mobile truck. I also wouldn't think La is a big cheese making area. I would get my Po' boy thinking cap on and stick with something people are use to in your area...................pnwc
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/16 15:04:56
There is a airstream with a side awning door on it for sale on flea bay,look up concession trailers and look though.It will show you how they did it.
Second,There is a place that is the only autirised co. to rebuild convert airstreams in the US,don't remember the name but they where on TV not to long ago.Google airsteam mods.
why not think about the bottom half instead of opening, have as your fixed deil case/wall as the bottom half and the top half as the part that opens.(look at some of the Lunch trucks theres one one flea bay too).
I would sell local and hard to get sausage with your cheeses.
Junior Burger
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/17 12:19:14
Thanks guys! daddywoofdawg I think you are right, I might have to go that way
Re:It's not easy being cheesy 2013/02/17 20:37:13
I'm kinda thinkin' like pnwchef in post #6 above. You usually don't think of cheese as a mainstay in LA cuisine- probably as a result of the lack of refrigeration in the early days of the evolution of that wonderful Cajun/Creole food.
On the flip side, it might be unusual enough to make it a big hit!