“Who doesn’t love meatballs?” Jean Krull said when asked about her new food truck business, Maine-ly Meatballs. “The concept was easy. We did some research and here we are.”

Krull, along with her business partner, Hope Lawler, first opened their food truck during Westbrook’s Together Days celebration May 30, and have since shifted locations during the week, from Spring Street and the Eastern Promenade in Portland, to Riverbank Park in Westbrook.

Both Krull and Lawler are New Jersey natives and longtime friends, who also happen to have about 50 years of food industry experience between them. Krull ran her own catering company for 17 years. Krull currently lives in New Jersey, but summers in Maine and plans to move here after her youngest of two children graduates from high school next year. She said that she has been traveling to Maine to visit Lawler, who lives in Westbrook, and the pair had been talking about opening a food truck for a long time.

The menu consists of a variety of meatball choices, including beef or pork, turkey, and gluten-free veggie and beef options. They also offer daily specials, including lobster balls. A single costs $5, with three for $9. A mac & cheese specialty meatball, served with applesauce, is $5. There is also a dessert ball of the day for $1.

Maine-ly Meatballs will have a presence in Westbrook throughout the summer, including plans to be on site during the city’s free summer concert series, which kicks off next Wednesday, July 2, in Riverbank Park. The truck will also be on hand during the city’s new Maine Market, a local farmers and artisans market in Riverbank Park each Saturday this summer, beginning Saturday, July 12, from 8 a.m.-noon.

The American Journal spoke with Krull this week about the popularity of food trucks and the inspiration for their tagline:

Q: With many years in the food industry under your belt, what made you want to open a food truck?

A: I’ve been in the food business for 20 years, and I love food trucks and like the flexibility. Also, it’s much more affordable to run a truck than a restaurant. My business partner, Hope Lawler, is my childhood friend from New Jersey. I’ve been coming up here for years during the summer to visit her. I’ve wanted to do a food truck for a while but knew that I wasn’t going to stay in New Jersey for much longer so after talking with her we decided to open one here.

Q: Food trucks have seemingly increased in popularity in the last few years. What is the draw of a food truck, for both owners and customers?

A: Owners like the flexibility of the location. If one place doesn’t work you move the next day. Customers like the fresh, fast service and affordability of the product. With no overhead, food trucks offer a great variety at an affordable price.

Q: What was the inspiration for Maine-ly Meatballs? Why meatballs?

A: Everybody loves a meatball! Plus, it’s mostly prepped ahead of time so service is fast.

Q: How did you come up with the menu? Are there challenges or limitations with a food truck menu?

A: The only limitation is the size of the menu. Being of limited space you can’t get too crazy with options, but if you keep it fresh, fast and good it’s really not a limitation.

Q: What role does social media play in advertising the food truck?

A: Social media is huge with food trucks. That’s where we advertise, and word of mouth, which of course follows the social media.

Q: Your tagline, “These Ain’t Yo Momma’s Meatballs,” is memorable. How did you come up with it?

A: “These ain’t yo momma’s meatballs” was inspired by some very influential ladies in my life. We called ourselves “the yo-yo mommas” and they have encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions and to just go for it.

Q: Why did you decide to set up in Riverbank Park? What is it about Westbrook that drew you here?

A: Riverbank Park was our first gig, and we wanted to show our appreciation for the community. We will be at the park during the concert series in the park Wednesday nights starting next Wednesday, July 2.

Q: Do you have any long-term goals for Maine-ly Meatballs? Are there ways to expand?

A: We are hoping to franchise Maine-ly Meatballs. You never know, you may be on vacation in Florida and see a Maine-ly Meatballs truck roll on by.

“With no overhead, food trucks offer a great variety at an affordable price,” says Jean Krull, who runs the new Maine-ly Meatballs food truck with business partner Hope Lawler of Westbrook. The truck will be in Riverbank Park twice a week starting early next month. 

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