Two self-proclaimed foodies, Dillon and Chloe Farmer of Mt. Carmel love to travel, try local restaurants and post photos to promote small businesses. On a trip to Miami, the couple saw a bunch of food trucks and loved the vibe.
“Food trucks have this small business feeling but on an even smaller level that we really like,” says Dillon.
After returning home, they decided to try their hand at running a food truck, but first they needed a concept and a trailer.
Dillon loves burgers and wanted to duplicate his St. Louis favorite, a juicy smash-style burger with crispy edges. Not one to settle, he experimented making them for lunch every day for a year (yes, a year) until he had it just right. Then they needed something to set them apart from others.
A trip to New Orleans answered that question. New Orleans is known for its beignets – fried, puffy pillows of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. Dillon remembers the first bite being a cathartic experience. After returning home, Chloe experimented making beignets. She tried a variety of items, including pizza dough and pancake mix, until she got them just as they remembered.
Two Farmers Burgers and Beignets was born.
They bought a trailer at the end of January 2020 and quickly worked to fit it with necessary equipment and licensed as a food truck. By the end of March, the truck was ready to go. Next, they needed customers.
In preparation for opening day, Chloe and Dillon “promoted it like crazy on Facebook.” They weren’t sure what to expect in Mt. Carmel, population 7,019.
“The line was a mile long,” Dillon estimates. “People were waiting 2 hours for their food, and they really loved it.”
It wasn’t long until people started reaching out asking them to bring the truck to their sites. The original plan was to stay in Mt. Carmel or Albion, but they started branching out as people heard about the business.
The menu is deliberately limited. They want to keep it small and do it all right. Everything is customizable. “We’ve had people order singles, doubles, triples, quads and some people get crazy and order even more,” he says.
The burgers are available on a traditional bun, but pretzel buns are also offered. The most popular is the grilled cheese bun burgers. Hamburger buns are toasted, topped with cheese and the other side flipped on top. There is one grilled cheese bun on top, one on the bottom and the meat is in between.
“It’s a lot of bread,” explains Dillon, “which is always what surprises me, but our hamburger buns aren’t very dense. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the novelty that makes
Beignets are another bun possibility. On a whim, Chloe and Dillon decided to go for it. They had seen burgers on glazed donuts before.
“We were being really silly one night and did it and it was outstanding,” says Chloe. “If you like sweet and savory, it’s like chicken and waffles and donut burgers. It looks amazing, it’s messy [it is served with a fork] and it’s so good.”
“It’s next level,” exclaims Dillon. “It’s the most underrated item on our menu. We take a beignet, put meat on it, top it with a beignet, hit it with honey and powdered sugar. It’s glorious!”
The Farmers want the burgers to stand on their own – no condiments are offered, just meat and cheese. On occasion, homemade macaroni and cheese is available.
Bacon jam from Midwest Fresh is a popular side item that many love on their burgers. It’s sweet and loaded with bacon. Dillon also designed a special sauce he says is basically a combination of typical burger condiments. It’s Chloe’s favorite – a little sweet, tangy and acidic.
The meat is ground fresh by Josh Wagner at the IGA in Albion. It’s an 80/20 blend made from chuck, fresh never frozen. It is ground with pieces of fat trimmed from brisket and steak. Dillon gives all the credit to Josh for the great taste of their burgers and says he will never go anywhere else for his meat.
The Farmers serve food as many months as possible. As soon as the weather warms up, they are ready to go and will continue until it gets too cold for customers waiting in line. They are smart with their finances, don’t overspend, and pay off items like the trailer so they don’t have to worry about payments during cold months when they aren’t open. They are currently saving for a quieter generator.
Food is prepped in a commercial kitchen the day before and they pick up their meat. On a Friday in Evansville, Ind., they brought 65 pounds of meat and 350 beignets. The beignets typically sell out first with the burgers not long after.
“It’s a balancing act,” explains Dillon. “We try to bring enough so that everyone gets food and no one leaves disappointed. We don’t want to buy extra meat because we only use fresh. What I don’t use today, I don’t use.”
The food truck is usually open four or five days a week, Tuesday through Friday, and a few Saturdays or Sundays added in. Dillon says business is better by moving around rather than having a static location because there’s no scarcity involved with staying in one place.
All donations to the tip jar go to charities including Down Syndrome Awareness and Casas for Christos. In May, they were donating to The Lunch Wagon, a Mt. Carmel food truck that travels the area during summer to give food to kids that may not have enough to eat.
“We really appreciate the tips,” says Chloe. “People are generous in addition to their meal.”
Burgers are $6.50 for a double, $8.50 triple and beignets are $3.25 for an order of three or $4.25 for six. Extras include additional patties, cheese, special buns, etc.
Two Farmers Burgers and Beignets recently began offering curbside pickup with online ordering. When visiting, go early or plan to stand in line – it was a block long 20 minutes before opening in Evansville.
“People come because they love our food and we have regulars at each stop,” says Dillon. “I want to be proud of everything we put out, and you won’t be sorry you tried it.”