Randall Smith Submitted Photo

LISBON FALLS – For the last five years, Randy Smith, a Lisbon Falls man who has been in the culinary business for decades, has operated his “restaurant,” Pinky D’s Poutine Factory, out of a pink-and-white truck that used to be owned by FedEx.

Since starting Pinky D’s, Smith said he has won Maine Chef of the Year from the Maine Chapter of the American Culinary Federation twice, won a 2016 food truck competition, and has taken his restaurant all over Maine, from beer festivals in Portland to special events in Lewiston.

Last month, Smith opened a fixed location for Pinky D’s at Side By Each Brewing Co. at 1110 Minot Ave. in Auburn, highlighted by a one-quarter replica of his food truck mounted on a wall there.

“We’ll still be on the road, of course,” Smith said, “(but) now, people will have a fixed location where they can get our food.”

Name: Randall Smith

Age: 54

Hometown: Lisbon Falls

Occupation: Chef, food truck and restaurant owner

Can you talk about how long you’ve been in the food business, and how that evolved into operating your own food truck? I started in the food business in 1983 in Florida, and then (moved) back to Maine and spent years in Portland, Freeport, Brunswick, Lewiston and Auburn. After 20 years in the hotel business as a chef and (food and beverage) manager, it was time to make things simpler so I could see and talk to every customer, the way you can do in a food truck.

What drew you to making poutine over other types of food? We actually stumbled onto poutine. We started the food truck doing a very similar menu to what we have now, but we used tater tots. We had a lot of issues (cooking) the tots and had to switch to fries for some of our larger events. . . . One day, we had customers come to the truck and say that they hadn’t had poutine in forever. It was one of those light bulb moments for us.

How did your relationship with Side By Each Brewing in Auburn come to fruition? Those of us at Pinky D’s Poutine Truck and Side By Each Brewing knew each other from beer festivals and our (existing) relationship with Baxter Brewing. We got together a couple of years ago when (Side By Each) started looking for properties to build on, and tried to figure out how we could incorporate our ideas with their ideas. After several meetings, lunches and a few beers, we came up with a plan.

On Feb. 13, we joined with Side by Each Brewing . . . and mounted one-quarter of a food truck to the brewery’s wall. We were able to keep the food truck feeling. Poutine is always very popular at beer festivals, which we attend with our truck. (Mounting the truck to the wall) was another light bulb moment for us.

Do you have a vision for where you want Pinky D’s Poutine Factory to go in the next 5 to 10 years, or are you happy with where it’s at right now? Obviously, with two locations running, time and staff is always a concern. While time is a set thing, staff is fluid and always changing. We have some amazing people that work for us; some that we’ve worked with for several years. We’re always looking to expand our brand. (Whether) it’s a small college kiosk or a seasonal location. You never know what might pop up.

What is something about yourself that people may be surprised to know? Not much! I am pretty vocal and will tell everyone what I think (sometimes to a fault). I am a die-hard pet lover (dogs more than cats) but I love them all. I would do anything to help an animal. I love to travel with my wife of 27 years and I love to try new foods everywhere we go.

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