Food Truck Friday: Melted
Young entrepreneur slings grilled cheeses for charity
By Lauren Jones,
2:30PM, Fri. Jul. 29, 2016
Resourceful, philanthropic, and smart, 16-year-old Anna Hutto is not your typical teenager. The quick-witted entrepreneur is the force behind Melted, a new food truck with a unique focus. With 100% of profits benefiting a human rights nonprofit, Anna is giving people extra incentive to eat one of America’s favorite sandwiches.
The Tyler native was inspired to start her own business after a family trip to the Dominican Republic, where she witnessed people bartering hurricane relief items for rice and beans at the Haitian border. When Hutto returned home, she began researching global poverty and found the International Justice Mission, the world’s largest anti-slavery organization. Focused on combating poverty, sex trafficking, and forced labor in Third World countries, IJM protects the defenseless.
IJM’s mission “is not one that everyone knows about,” says Hutto. “I knew that I wanted to do something that would provide continual support and not just give temporary relief.” The work that IJM does prevents people from falling back into poverty.
After funding the project with a loan from her parents, Hutto enlisted The Peached Tortilla’s Eric Silverstein as a consultant. With a basic concept in place, she then placed a Craigslist ad for a chef. Aaron Esserman, the ever-smiling and gregarious former executive chef at Colorado’s Estes Park Resort, quickly replied. After meeting in Denver, he realized that Hutto’s dream was something he had to be a part of. “I came up with a few items, but he took off with the rest of menu,” says Hutto – the only caveat was “stick to grilled cheese.”
With creative plates featuring locally grown produce and Austin-made sourdough, Melted has attracted a loyal following since opening last month. The Hill Country Toast, Hutto’s favorite, features beer-braised pulled pork, red onion jam, a spicy homemade barbecue sauce, and pepper jack cheese. For the more health-conscious crowd, Melted offers the Happy Almost Vegan with arugula, roasted garlic, roma tomato, and avocado.
With her first business venture taking off, Hutto is already looking ahead. The high school junior plans to attend law school and continue following her passions by working with IJM. She also eventually hopes to start a foundation for other young entrepreneurs like herself.
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