Off the Wall opens doors to brick-and-mortar walk-up restaurant in Benld

Off the Wall opens doors to brick-and-mortar walk-up

Chef Colt Dean, owner of the acclaimed Off the Wall Chef Service, has opened walk-up restaurant in Benld, serving his acclaimed Mexican fare, which has quickly gained popularity since being introduced to Macoupin earlier this year. The business has a walk-up window, with drive-thru service available during harsh weather. The Off the Wall food truck will still be in operation in towns across Macoupin and Montgomery counties.

By JORDAN GRUCZA

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Macoupin is abuzz with talk about Off the Wall, a catering service and taco truck which also serves Montgomery County.

As soon as Chef Colt Dean, the owner of the business, acquired licenses in May to serve from a food truck in areas like Gillespie and Carlinville, residents couldn’t get enough of his take on Mexican street fare. A quick visit to Off the Wall’s facebook page will show that the business has received 150 five-star reviews, and none less than five stars.

Now, county residents can visit Chef Dean’s first-ever brick-and-mortar establishment opening its doors in Benld, in the former location of Pamey’s Market on 300 East Central Street.

“It’s my second week being open,” Dean said. “It’s been a slow start, but we’re picking up now. I opened on the coldest week possible, and then the next week after we got all that snow. But now that’s calmed down and we put up a family deal and we’ve gotten busier and busier.”

Presently, Dean employs two other people to help with both the restaurant and food truck.

“My guys, I treat them like family,” Dean said. “I took one of them to Florida this year with me just because they did a great job. I don’t have many of them and we have to work close together. I reward them and they work hard.”

Meats that are available are shredded and ground beef, chorizo, chicken and pork. Among the fare offered are quesadillas, tacos, burritos and white chicken chili.

“We use fresh food,” Dean said. “All the taco sauces, pico de gallo and meats are prepared daily. Usually I sell out of it quickly, especially in the truck.”

All tacos come with Dean’s special crema sauce, a secret recipe of his which customers rave about.

“When I started my personal chef business, people would call me every once in a while and I would do events while working full time,” Dean said. “I juggled that for a bit, then saved up enough money to buy this trailer, made my Mexican menu, and then my pages jumped up from 150 likes to 3,150 and there’s more joining every day.

“I started cooking when I was 15,” Dean said. “I went to Ponderosa with a worker’s permit and worked my way up from dishwasher to grill cook. Since then, I’ve been in at least 20 restaurants around the area. Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Timber Lakes Golf Course in Staunton and Gianni’s Pizzeria in Hillsboro, just to name a few of them.

“I just love food and I love to make my art,” Dean said.

Off the Wall provides window service only, but customers can call ahead and or use a special drive-thru service during colder weather, where customers can park while their food is prepared to avoid lines.

Specials that are available at the Benld location are two-dollar taco Friday, where all street tacos are $2, and a family meal deal which offers 10 tacos, two orders of churros and rice and beans for $25.

The taco truck visits Gillespie, Benld, Mt. Olive, Litchfield, Hillsboro, Staunton and Carlinville.

In upcoming events, Off the Wall is participating in a Dec. 21 Chamber of Commerce beer pairing with Opera House Brewing Company in Hillsboro, with Chef Dean serving a five-course meal.

“I do dinner parties, backyard barbecues, anything,” Dean said. “You can rent the truck if you need to and we collaborate on prices.

“Off the Wall, to me, it’s punk rock,” Dean said. “You can be yourself when you come to the window. Wear your pajamas, I don’t care. Just come get some tacos.

“We like to be ourselves here, too,” Dean said. “My next taco is going to be an apple pie taco. I’m just going to try to keep it fresh and original.

“I’m a local boy trying to bring out local gourmet food,” Dean said.

Off the Wall in Benld is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4  p.m to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m to 9 p.m. on Fridays. More information is available at Off the Wall Chef Service on Facebook.