Jenos Steaks, a Severna Park icon since 1991, drove into the lucrative food truck market in late June with the introduction of the “Jeno Raider.” Bedecked with a Maryland stripe, the Jeno Raider highlights owner Rudy Adriano’s love for firetrucks and honors Jenos founder Rudy Adriano Sr., who died of pancreatic cancer in 2005.
Rudy and head chef Jeff Claypool drove 27 hours straight in May to pick up the 18-foot mobile kitchen in Waycross, Georgia, and bring it home to Anne Arundel County.
The state-of-the-art mobile kitchen will replace the 10-by-10-foot pop-up tent the duo had been using since 2010 when the Adriano family continually packed up and operated anywhere they were allowed to cook. This included large events at Kinder Farm Park during Greater Severna Park Athletic Association (Green Hornets) sporting events or backyard events for family and friends.
“In 2011, Loyola University men’s lacrosse coach and UPLAX founder Charley Toomey gave us our biggest break and allowed my family to sell our cheesesteaks for his tournament at Anne Arundel Community College,” said Rudy. “I believe that great moments are born great opportunities. UPLAX started a ripple effect, which is now the foundation of our catering — sports tournaments. This is one reason why the mobile kitchen is vital.”
Rudy said the Jeno Raider is far better than the pop-up tent. “The food truck is easier to move and requires less setup time than the tent,” said Rudy. Most importantly, “the truck makes us weather-independent. We had to cancel some events because the winds were too high.”
Rudy also said the truck drastically improves the presentation of Jenos’ product and is a strong sign of expansion and growth of the family business.
It’s also more efficient than the physical location on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Severna Park. With an 18-by-8-foot workspace, the Jeno Raider includes a giant griddle top, two deep-fryers, a reach-in refrigerator, a freezer and a sandwich prep refrigerator.
The Jeno Raider is an extension of Jenos Steaks and another chapter in Adriano’s family story about daily challenges, sacrifice and honor. In 1991, after 28 years in the United States Navy, Senior Chief Rudy Adriano Sr. and his wife, Ely, founded Jenos Steaks. Throughout his naval career, Adriano Sr. cooked for thousands of sailors, midshipmen and later as personal chef for the admirals at the U.S. Naval Academy. When he retired, he wanted to be his own admiral, so he bought a little sub shop in Severna Park. It was a unique mom-and-pop store that sold just about everything. Using his culinary experience and fresh ingredients, Adriano Sr.’s menu was creative, diverse and, most importantly, it had a great cheesesteaks, which is the foundation of the Jeno Raider menu.
Adriano Sr. was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late fall 2004 and died months later. Rudy and his brother, Mark, both left their jobs to continue their parents’ business. After 25 years, Jenos Steaks is woven into the fabric of Severna Park and beyond.
Rudy said, “Jenos Steaks plans on closing on Mondays to allow staff to rest. For now, Jenos Steaks will continue to operate normally Tuesday through Sunday, but this depends on the direction of the Jeno Raider.”
Jeno Raider will operate Monday through Friday in and around Fort Meade and National Business Park, cooking for Department of Defense employees. On weekends, the mobile kitchen will travel along the Mid-Atlantic, operating at lacrosse and soccer tournaments; local craft brewing companies and vineyards; beer, wine, and music festivals; car shows; golf tournaments; and weddings.
Additionally, Rudy said that he’s applied to the Earleigh Heights Food Truck Tuesdays and Columbian Center Food Truck Rally on Wednesdays.