Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 Church Directory
Clear Lake resident Rob Dunlap recently opened Buddy’s Burritos and Bowls food truck, which features intriguing flavors of sauces and salsas. He is also able to spice things up for customers, with a mystery pepper offering. (Photo by Mark Kolbinger.)

Local food truck owner brings the heat in Clear Lake

Food trucks have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with innovative cuisine being offered not only at festivals and events, but also as another dining option in cities across Minnesota.

Add Clear Lake to that list with the establishment of Buddy’s Burritos and Bowls, which officially opened July 24.

For two weekends in a row, Clear Lake area resident Rob Dunlap operated his food truck near the O’Brothers Wine and Spirits store, offering his specialty fare for the local residents and Hwy. 10 commuters.

“I have heard nothing but great things from the customers,” Dunlap says.  “People really enjoy having another option.”

By design, Buddy’s offers a small menu that is easily customizable for each patron. With nearly 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Dunlap enjoys the fast pace of the job, as well as his ability to be creative with his offerings.

“I focus on doing a few things and doing them well... we offer burritos, burrito bowls and taco in a bag,” Dunlap says. “What is nice about how I am set up is everyone gets to build their meal to their exact specifications.” 

For proteins, Buddy’s offers steak, chicken and taco seasoned ground beef, and Dunlap feels he is set apart with his custom blended flavors. He is also not afraid to bring the “heat” with his food.

“What I feel makes our menu unique is the home made sauces and salsas,” Dunlap says. “And I love to cater to the needs of people who like things spicy so I have a rotating ‘mystery pepper’ that people can add to their meal.” 

For the really adventurous palate, Dunlap offers another option.

“For a crazy amount of heat, I have a ghost pepper seasoning,” he says.

Dunlap says about 15 years ago, he and some friends used to talk about running a food truck, but it wasn’t something he took too seriously. Then, in 2020, COVID-19 came along and with it, the restaurant industry was seriously disrupted.

“Back in 2020 when so many things were being shut down and restricted, so many changes came about in the restaurant industry,” Dunlap says. “I felt like there was a definite need for more dining options. I decided I had the right skill set to provide a quality product to customers, served fast.”

In addition to pop up events, Buddy’s also has bookings on the schedule in the near future, including dates at local breweries such as Back Shed and Lupulin. Dunlap also has been hired for a late night wedding reception and will be at the Ledge Amphitheather in Waite Park for the Brett Eldridge concert September 10.

Dunlap is hoping for additional partnerships with other local businesses in the near future.

“We have been setting up at local businesses in Clear Lake and would love to expand to other neighboring cities,” he says. “The businesses get some extra foot traffic from the customers we bring in and vice versa.”