Community stepping up to help Katie’s of Smithtown after fire ruins its food truck


Following a fire that destroyed its popular food truck, Katie’s of Smithtown could use a helping hand this holiday season.

While the Nov. 23 blaze was a devastating loss for the pub and music venue, owner Brian Karppinen knows the result could have been far worse.

“We lost the truck, but everybody’s ok and the building is ok, which is another blessing,” Karppinen, 58, of Lake Grove said. “It was on the porch of Katie’s.”

Karppinen said the truck, best known for it’s macaroni and cheese stuffed waffle cone — advertised on banners as the Mac Daddy n’ Cheese — was rendered unsalvageable and would not be covered by insurance. The truck caught fire when the deep fryer failed to shut off after reaching optimal temperature, he said.

The truck acted as the bar’s revenue-generating kitchen. Karppinen and GoFundMe organizer Michelle Colapinto are asking the public for assistance to purchase a new Katie’s truck.

Since Colapinto organized the fundraiser seeking $50,000 on Nov. 25, Thanksgiving Day, they received more than 100 donations totaling over $7,500. The link to the GoFundMe page is available here.

“I just want to thank everybody that’s been helping out and hitting me up, I really appreciate it,” Karppinen said. “I understand it’s a rough time of year, it’s just a crazy time in general, so I appreciate anything anybody can do.”

Go west, young man

After scouring the east coast for a food truck he liked and coming up empty, Karppinen said he headed west. He bought a one-way ticket to California, where he has family. There, he rented a motorcycle and searched the state for a food truck, eventually stumbling on Roxy, a food truck he liked named after its owner. He bought it, drove it back east, renamed it, and has cooked in it since 2017.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the truck was frequently requested to travel to different communities to spice up bleak days. People ordered up the Mac Daddy, as well as other handheld foods, such as mozzarella sticks, Bavarian pretzel sticks, and tacos and sliders.

“People couldn’t go to restaurants, so blocks would rent the truck and families would come out one by one,” Karppinen said. “So the truck really did well servicing the community during that lockdown.”

Top: Photo courtesy of Katie’s of Smithtown Instagram