There is something wonderfully freeing about working in a food truck. The job seems to appeal to a certain free spirit, that individual who can’t quite fit into an office or even a kitchen in a restaurant. In a food truck, you are the king of your own domain. No bosses, no suit, just a view of whatever corner of the world you choose through a small window as waves of people come by to sample your wares. You listen to whatever music you choose, and approach the job whichever way you want.
The three New Haven 20-somethings who own and operate the Jitter Bus coffee truck in the Elm City — Dan Barletta, Paul Crosby and Andrew Mesiouris — are not huge fans of bosses. Having met as teenagers in West Haven, all three have been fired from Starbucks at one time or another. “You’re not cut out for this job,” Barletta says they told him when they let him go.
Well, joke’s on them. Now Barletta makes a living with his friends, working for themselves and each other, selling coffee on their own terms. Crosby, who has SINK and SWIM tattooed on the knuckles on his respective hands and was fired from a Starbucks in West Haven, says this has been the idea for him from the start. “It’s been my plan since I was in like fifth or sixth grade. It was a tattoo shop when I was young, but as I fell out of that, I grew into this,” he says.
Aesthetically, the Jitter Bus looks like what the Addams Family would come up with if they quit television and became do-it-yourself punks and tattoo artists. The old school bus is painted black with white designs hand-painted on. The Jitter Bus’ goth color scheme stands out amid the proliferation of brightly painted food trucks that populate our cities. Its one-year anniversary party was held back in March at Keys on Kites Tattoo & Gallery in New Haven’s Westville section, where they had a music show and raffled off a free tattoo.