Dayton food truck owners launch The Messy Meatball, has plans for brick-and-mortar in Piqua

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

The Dayton region’s newest food truck looks like it has just drove through a food fight with pasta, meatballs, sauce and pizza covering the truck.

Crystal Moberly and her husband, Donnie, launched DC’s Burgers & More three years ago and after much success have now opened The Messy Meatball food truck with her cousin, Jeremy Vanmeter, and his partner, Angela Ashburn.

The start in the food truck industry

Moberly said she had always wanted to own a food truck. When she and her husband got married, he bought her one and after the first year of the coronavirus pandemic their friends, Denver and Sheila Meade, helped them get started.

“We just started running it one day, started doing warehouses and now it’s turned into every day we get tons of new clients,” Moberly said.

Credit: Facebook Photo

Credit: Facebook Photo

After seeing the income potential, she quite her job and started operating the food truck full-time with Vanmeter. DC’s Burgers & More is known for its cheeseburgers, specialty burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, quesadillas and loaded fries.

Moberly and Vanmeter have worked in the food industry for many years at places like Cassano’s Pizza King, Donatos Pizza, Long John Silver’s and Frisch’s. Moberly said she has always had a love for working in the food industry, but hated her full-time job of working in warehouses and factories.

The keys to success

The key to operating a successful food truck is working long hours and never saying no to an opportunity.

“If you do not want to work, this is not a job for you,” Moberly said. “We have to get up at 2 a.m. to feed people after working first, second shift and then...going home and hoping to get a couple hours of sleep before cooking and getting stuff ready.”

“It’s a lot of 17 hour days,” Ashburn added. “You get out of it what you put in it.”

Moberly said she never knows where their next connection to a bigger and more profitable event could come from, so she never turns down opportunities. Adding the second food truck will help them take on more jobs.

The Messy Meatball

The Messy Meatball features meatballs, pizza, chicken wings, pasta, breadsticks and fries. Meatball sliders are this food truck’s best seller.

Credit: Facebook Photo

Credit: Facebook Photo

The food truck also pays tribute to Ashburn’s father that died in July 2023. Ashburn said he was a huge fan of meatballs.

Their goal is to create longtime, repeat customers by serving food that they would want to eat. Moberly and Vanmeter are the masterminds behind the menu.

A drive to work hard

All four have a drive to work hard and serve the community. When they aren’t on the food trucks, they’re either talking on the phone to each other, buying food or prepping for their next job/event.

Their favorite part of operating the food trucks is working together and having fun. They typically work hard for three weeks and then take a week off for a vacation.

Future plans

Plans for the future include opening a brick-and-mortar spot in November at the Piqua Center called DC’s The Messy Meatball & More. The restaurant will serve a combination of both menus, in addition to donuts and ice cream.

They also are working with Moberly’s 28-year-old daughter to soon launch her food truck, Oh Boy Sweets, featuring sweet treats, iced coffee and cafe-style food.

“It’s hard work, but it’s fun,” Moberly said.

More details

The food trucks typically serve warehouses throughout the week and the public on the weekends. On Saturday, May 11, both food trucks will be at the Piqua Center, 987 E. Ash St., for the Northern Miami Valley Bike Blessing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information or to find out where the food trucks will be next, visit The Messy Meatball’s or DC’s Burgers & More’s Facebook pages.

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