Kiona Boyd, (right), the niece of Eric Atwater and another generation of culinary entrepreneurs, has parked her food truck in front of Atwater’s Café, selling Loaded Eggrolls. Seen here with assistant Nyasia Middleton.
BY MARK PARKER, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Kiona Boyd has taken her love of culinary arts and ability to think outside the box and combined them to open the Loaded Eggrolls food truck.
Creating gastronomical marvels is in Boyd’s blood. She grew up in her family’s restaurant and spent years honing her craft, creating new recipes, and learning the catering and event side of the industry.
She then spent eight years working with First Watch, traveling across the country helping them open new restaurants. After opening more than 100 new restaurants for the chain, Boyd said that she decided she had enough knowledge to do it for herself and followed her dream of owning her own place.
“It’s literally something I wanted to do all my life,” said Boyd. “I have my second-grade yearbook, and inside, it says I want to open up a café, just like my grandma.
Boyd was working at the corporate job in Texas when she decided she “needed something fresh.” She had been making specialty eggrolls for friends and family to serve at gatherings, and they were a hit. Boyd has always taken joy in putting various ingredients inside of an eggroll to make something different and delicious.
She then rented a commercial kitchen in Texas and said her idea took off, but during the pandemic’s peak, she decided to move back to Florida to be closer to her family. Now she is living her dream closer to home.
Boyd started the Loaded Eggrolls food truck about four months ago, and their original location was outside of Dirty Mullet in New Port Richey. She said the experience was great, and she met many new people but felt it would be nice to move to a new spot.
Boyd said she chose the eggroll concept because “it is super-fast, super good, and something that no one’s ever had before.” Some people assume she is selling frozen Chinese eggrolls; however, that could not be further from the truth.
She rolls her eggrolls every morning and only uses fresh ingredients. Boyd said they are perfect for people on the go who still want to eat healthily and have fresh ingredients. She also creates almost every version of an eggroll imaginable, from breakfast to dessert.
Her creativity and freedom to experiment as her own boss suit the concept well, and she is continuously trying out new ideas.
“I like to be out of the box and stand out, and the eggroll food truck is definitely that,” she asserted.
Boyd’s favorite eggroll would have to be the buffalo chicken eggroll. “It makes me feel like it’s game day, and I’m eating chicken wings.” Her runner-up is called “The Slice,” which she said is “basically a pepperoni pizza inside of an eggroll.”
The best part of the job for Boyd is that it is hers. She controls the quality, concepts, and image but said she is most importantly fulfilling a lifelong dream.
She has grand plans for her business and said her goal is to “find a restaurant and really just take over the country with eggrolls.” One day she would like to have a location in every major city in America.
“Just have it take over the world with something different, that was unexpected, and no one has ever done before,” explained Boyd. “I want to make it to Forbes’ top five growing restaurants in America.”
Boyd credits growing up in restaurants her entire life for teaching her what works and what does not. Her primary focus is creating a place that people around the country take joy in going to every day.
She wants the restaurant to instill the same joy and passion in its customers that she has for “creating every single type of different eggroll you can and putting everything inside of it.”
Boyd said she is still deciding what hours Loaded Eggrolls will be open, but they are set for 3-10 p.m. for now. Currently, the truck can be found in front of Atwater’s Café, which is temporarily closed, at 895 22nd Ave. S in St. Petersburg.
She said she would be in front of Atwater’s for at least a month, but the goal is to find an official location for a restaurant in the next two months.
“I would tell people that dreams are not that hard to catch,” quipped Boyd. “I mean, I’m doing it.”
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