As college roommates, Arvid Brown and Sam Gorelick sustained themselves with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. In their new venture, a Portland-based food truck called Fishin’ Ships, they aspire to better, combining local fish, craft beers and hand-cut Maine white and sweet potatoes.

Fishin’ Ships, which opened its window earlier this month, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, is the city’s only “ocean-to-table” fish and chips food truck. Brown, a Bar Harbor native, and Gorelick, a transplanted Philadelphian, use fish like hake, pollock and redfish, which, unlike cod, have stable populations.

Tapping underused species is good for both the ocean and the fishermen, Brown said. His father has fished in the Gulf of Maine for 30 years and supplies his son’s truck with about half the fish it uses. Gorelick and Brown buy the remainder from the Portland Fish Exchange.

The beer – from Rising Tide, Bissell Brothers, Banded Horn and Allagash – goes into the batter. Brown gets animated as he describes tasting a beer in order to figure out how to season the batter to match the beverage. The truck offers several creative flavor variations on fish and chips, and so far reviews and sales have been good, Brown said.

But customers have had one beef with the menu – everything is fried. In response, the pair now offers a daily ceviche. The mango, avocado and limes used in the recipe shown here are not, it goes without saying, locally sourced – but everything else can be.

Promoting local food is what drives Brown and Gorelick, but they also want to make the operation environmentally sustainable. Eventually, they hope the truck can be converted to bio-diesel to run on their own fumes; they’d like to recycle their spent fry oil into fuel. Limiting waste is the “green” reason for that conversion, but there’s a business rationale, too: free advertising.

“When we rumble by potential customers, our fumes will smell like French fries,” Gorelick said. “That’s just awesome!”

To find out if the Fishin’ Ships truck is headed to your neighborhood, check

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