A new food truck has parked itself on the northern side of town, in the parking lot of Color Carpets at 3132 Reynolda Road, between Reynolda Manor Shopping Center and Yadkinville Road.
Mel’s Rollin’ Diner is run by 20-year-old Michael Popp of Yadkinville in partnership with his father, Robert Melly.
“A neighbor and friend was running this truck with the same name, the same wrap on it, and I used to go up there all the time,” Popp said. “One day my dad came home and said, ‘Do you like Mel’s Diner? Do you really like it?’ The next day it was in the driveway when I got home from school.”
Though named Mel by the former owner, Popp decided to keep the name — his father went by Mel years ago in the Marines.
Popp has been working in restaurants since he was a young teenager, cooking at such places as J. Butler’s bar and Grille in Lewisville and T.J.’s Deli on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem. He more recently had waited tables at Olive Garden.
He also spent time helping out his dad with renovating houses. Popp had been operating the truck in Yadkinville for about four months, but was looking for a better location.
“In Yadkinville, we weren’t getting the traffic we wanted,” Popp said.
Pop wound up parking the trailer at Color Carpets because Melly has had business with Color Carpets over the years. “With the pandemic, my business has been slow,” said Jeff White, the owner of Color Carpets. “So I figured this would work for both of us.”
As the “diner” in the name implies, Mel’s sells All-American comfort food, including breakfast fare.
Unlike some food trucks that may sell 10 items or less, Mel’s has a three page menu that includes subs, hot dogs, burgers, wings, eggs, pancakes and more.
“I’ve been to some trucks and the small menus disappointed me,” Popp said. “I like to have a variety of options. It takes a lot of prep work, but I think it pays off.”
Popp, who gets help on the truck from girlfriend Kristina Sizemore, recommends his cheesesteak ($7.75) to first-timers. “I don’t like that really thin-sliced steak so I found something a little thicker, and I think our cheesesteak is out of this world,” he said. “And we’ve been told we have better milkshakes than any fast-food restaurant.”
Other subs and hoagies include a meatball sub ($5.50) and Italian hoagie ($7.50).
The all-day breakfast menu includes a popular egg and cheese sandwich ($3.50) to which customers can add sausage, steak, fried bologna or ham for an extra charge.
Customers also can order a “hungry man” breakfast platter ($8) with scrambled or fried eggs, buttermilk pancakes, hash browns and choice of bacon, sausage or country ham.
Sandwiches includes grilled cheese ($3.25), BLT ($4.25) and hot roast beef and cheese with gravy ($6).
Burgers have ¼ pound of Angus beef, and range from $4.50 for a basic hamburger to $7.50 for a double bacon cheeseburger.
Hot dogs (exclusively the Jesse Jones brand) cost $3.75 all the way. Customers can get six honey BBQ chicken wings for $5.75. Mel’s also has chicken nuggets and chicken-breast sandwiches.
Popp is hoping to sell Hawaiian shaved ice when the weather warms up. For now, though, he has funnel cake bites ($5, or $4.50 with any sandwich). “I don’t now that I invented this, but it’s like funnel cake batter that’s cooked in small balls, then I put powdered sugar on them, and you can get a choice of chocolate, strawberry or caramel sauce — or all three,” Popp said.
Popp said he is pleased with the business on Reynolda Road so far. “We actually can get pretty busy at lunch. Word is getting out, so we’re excited. We want to make this a permanent location.”