Food truck is start of man’s next chapter

Published 8:48 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Blue Sky is not the only business development on the corner of Brookway Boulevard and US51. Tucked away on the lot is a food truck formerly known as Galley Grub where Eric Smith stood outside close to where The Dart landed Thursday.

Smith was born and raised in Fair River and graduated from Brookhaven High School. The first 12 years of his life after high school were spent working at Delphi Packard. He spent 25 years of his life working on the road in construction. Most recently he worked at an Intel Plant in Hillsborough, Oregon close to Portland.

For two years, he worked on running plumbing and gas lines for the plant. He stayed at a campground in Veronia, Oregon along the Nehalem River. One day he had a heart attack after feeling sick that week.

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“It scared me and put things in perspective. I saw maybe I needed to be back home a little more,” Smith said. “I came back and my mom and my wife, who run Bob’s Sandwich Shop, bought this food trailer. I’m working on the food truck side and it will be an extension of Bob’s Sandwich Shop and will be called Bob’s on the Boulevard.” 

They plan to offer more than their famous chili hotdogs. Bob’s on the Boulevard will have mac and cheese, grilled tacos, barbecue specials and more. Smith said there has been a lot more work to get it up to their standards but it should be open soon. 

He said they will be seeking employees for the food trailer especially for the front counter. Smith is comfortable in the kitchen as a cook and enjoys making food for others. His signature dish is the Gumbo which can be found at Bob’s Sandwich Shop. 

“I love to cook and I love it when people enjoy our food,” Smith said. “The timing was a bit off. I always figured I would come back and cook in retirement. God’s timing is better than mine. I was supposed to work on the road another year or two but the food truck came up and it was one of those you either had to take it or it would be gone.” 

His travels across the country to work in Alabama, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oregon and places in between have exposed him to different people, cultures and food. He has no regrets about the first 25 years of his career because “If I had stayed here I wouldn’t have seen it,” Smith said. 

In his free time, Smith said he and his family like to go down to Fair River and camp at their campground. They ride in the river and on the sand bars. If it was not for his family being in Brookhaven, he would be living on the Gulf Coast because he loves the water and the beach. 

One of his favorite things about Brookhaven is how someone always knows how to do something or they know someone who does. The people are supportive and Mississippi is “Unlike any place I’ve been,” he said. 

He met his wife Amie of 25 years while riding on the Boulevard and now they are getting closer to a new business venture. 

“I’m glad to be home now. Life is precious and seems shorter,” Smith said. “I hope we are on the first floor of a lot of businesses coming in on the Boulevard. I think we are growing and this is a good opportunity.”