This old school bus has a new purpose after Caged Crow Customs was hired out to turn it into a food truck. The attention to detail and custom fabrication work is stunning.
~Interview By: Brock Butterfield
~School Bus Conversion By: Josh Romaker of Caged Crow Customs~
Tell us a little bit about what Caged Crow does:
Caged Crow specializes in building unique, custom mobile kitchens and businesses that stand out. We design and build trailers from the frame up and focus on more unique vehicle conversions. Instead of the typical food truck with graphic wraps, we focus on converting vehicles that can turn heads without large decals or graphic wraps. We add a lot of handmade accents into the mix. Josh (Romaker, owner of Caged Crow) is also a blacksmith and metal artist, so the creativity in his mind usually rolls out into the details of each build.
Our market tends to be the customers that want something that they’ve never seen before. We aren’t the average Food Truck Builder. We are a small crew and really focus on making each build unique from the next, while keeping it fully functional for that customer’s purpose. We do shipping container build outs, mobile retail units, and are set up for just about any crazy idea thrown our way.
Are you self taught in your skill-sets or did you learn from others?
Both. Growing up around many Wisconsin farms, Josh learned to weld at a young age. When Josh wanted to get back into welding, he had a great mentor that helped take his welding skills to a level that started this business. Josh has the work ethic of a farmer and a skill set that doesn’t end. He’s constantly learning new things when it comes to metal fabrication and metal shaping, and then putting them to the test to perfect them.
What is the main goal of the bus conversion food truck?
The main goal with the bus conversion was to create an atmosphere for whatever opportunities the owner may have. David (Rodriguez, owner of The Fine Dining Food Truck) wanted a truck that he could use for catering events as well as offering a private dinner service for a more intimate, fine dining experience. David may also rent out the bus to other chef’s and event professionals in the future. We built the dining area in the back of the bus with that in mind. The kitchen is fully functional and built to the same codes that is required with any commercial kitchen or restaurant. The dining area could swap a small chef’s table with a farmhouse table and benches, depending on the service.
What type of unique materials did you use during the build?
We used a LOT of stainless steel and aluminum paneling in this build. Being that this is a mobile kitchen, we have to follow the codes required of commercial kitchens. Surfaces need to be smooth and easy to clean so the interior is mostly constructed of aluminum and stainless. We used aluminum diamond plate flooring in the kitchen and hardwood flooring in the dining area.
The exterior work included a lot of wood, aluminum and stainless. The exterior trim work was pretty time consuming, as you can tell from the photos. That’s a lot of windows to work around, all being done by hand. It was worth it, though.
What’s the most unique build you’ve ever done for a client?
The bus is probably the largest and most unique build to date. All of our builds have their own level of uniqueness and you can check out our website to see our past work and follow us to our future builds. We are currently working on a Pirate Ship Themed Concession Trailer and then will be building out a unique Shipping Container Food Trailer for Candyland (World Famous Popcorn Company). We get really into every build here!
How do people get a hold of you or see more of your work?
We have several online avenues to get in touch:
Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cagedcrowfabrication/
Follow us on Twitter:
Or give us a call (608) 886-7397
Visit us in person if you happen to be going through the “Northwoods” of Wisconsin. We are located in Saint Germain, next to the Snowmobile Capital of the World and just south of the Muskie Capital of the World.