We are Wisconsin cheese…nothing over the top…good ol’ gooey cheese, melted between grilled sour dough bread…Angus beef, shredded chicken, curds…

Phillip Wanke

Owner/Operator, Monkey Business Food Truck

We chatted with Phillip Wanke of the Monkey Business Food Truck, Featuring signature stuffed sourdough grilled cheeses and stuffed sandwiches, made to order. We talk about the origin story, how he stands apart from other trucks, where to find him and what’s next for this meal on wheels.

This podcast is sponsored by Balancing Act.


Balancing Act Book
Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by Balancing Act: Teach, Coach, Mentor, Inspire a collection of candid observations on the challenges facing business leaders today. Balancing Act is authored by Dr. Andrew Tempe and is available today on Amazon and other fine bookstores. We chatted with Phillip Wanke of the Monkey Business Food Truck, featuring signature stuffed sourdough grilled cheeses and stuffed sandwiches made to order. We talked about the origin story, how he stands apart from other trucks, where to find him, and what’s next for this meal on wheels. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:46
I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:47
And this is La Crosse Local.

Brent Hanifl 00:49
What’s the story behind Monkey Business?

Phillip Wanke 00:52
Well, last winter, we happened across the crew from Midwest Bites food truck, and they were wanting out of the business, had some other interests. So, after a few conversations, we basically ended up buying out everything they had. We were running Burger Fusion company at the time, we wanted a little side business for festivals, events, stuff like that. And then COVID hit. In the end, the food truck ended up saving us. I mean, we shut down the restaurant and the bar. And we went to the people. We were you know in a very safe COVID aware manner. And now people are getting a bit stir crazy and really wanting to be outdoors with their family and friends and having fun. And you know, we’re here for you now.

Brent Hanifl 01:34
It does seem that, you know, food trucks over the last couple years have just been starting all over the place. And now it’s actually it seems like it’s been a benefit to them due to COVID and things like that. How does your food truck stand apart?

Phillip Wanke 01:47
Well, we’re fun. We’re Wisconsin cheese. I mean, we got nothing foo-foo, nothing over the top. Just you know good old gooey cheese melted between grilled sourdough bread and a lot of fun tasty combinations. We’re running like angus beef right now, shredded chicken, curds. And at the end, it’s kind of funny because our seasonal fries seem to be stealing the show lately. And that’s what everyone’s talking about.

Brent Hanifl 02:13
Can people rent the truck for special occasions? Can they do it for you know if they want to have a family get together or a birthday party? Or how does that work?

Phillip Wanke 02:21
Yeah, absolutely. That’s what we do. I mean, we cater graduation parties, we’ve got weddings on the books, block parties, corporate events, and we kind of joke wherever 100 people or more are gathered in our name, we’re there.

Brent Hanifl 02:35
So, I know you’ve kind of been, you know, based in some ways out at Holmen, but I’ve seen you around La Crosse County. Where can people find you on any given day?

Phillip Wanke 02:44
Yeah, we do move around quite a bit. So, the best way is online. You can connect with us either monkeybusinesscatering.com. Facebook right now, still in our market, seems to be the place where you know we kind of post where we’re going to be every week and that’s just under a Monkey Business Food Truck on there. You know, we got a busy summer so yeah, we’re at the Holmen American Legion quite a bit, Interstate Fair, Riverfest, Mississippi Mayhem. We’re getting the Pettibone Summer Concert series out in the park every Tuesday this summer. Gundersen Clinics and hospital both quite a bit this summer. So we’re around and can be found.

Brent Hanifl 03:21
You know, it’s exciting to see all these different festivals and events coming back, but also just like an avenue for you to serve your cheesy deliciousness. So what’s absolutely so what’s next for you know, the food truck for you as a business owner? Do you have anything coming down the line in 2021 or 2022?

Phillip Wanke 03:39
After 2021 where we’re riding it kind of, you know, like you said, all the festivals are just coming back and blazing right now. Kind of watch what happens, participate in everything we possibly can and make some decisions by the end of the summer. Right now I do have my eyes on another truck and you know, who knows what might be coming next summer. There might be a fleet out there.

Brent Hanifl 04:04
So, is there any particular item that you could talk about that you really enjoy or like to make?

Phillip Wanke 04:09
It’s funny every week it seems like our favorite item changes. Now we do the Classic La Crosse, the chicken, bacon, ranch kind of combination. The old burger fusion customers know the Southern Hospitality pretty well with some angus beef and a little barbecue and heat behind that one. So there’s quite a few different tasty combinations we’ve been playing with. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know we’ll play with it. Mexican heat has been our latest where we do a salsa combination with chicken and jalapenos. And somebody else wanted another vegetarian option and we came up with the Jalapeno Popper stuffed full of cream cheese and roasted jalapeno peppers. So lots of fun, different combinations.

Brent Hanifl 04:54
So if people want to, you know, find out more, maybe potentially rent you for a family event or something like that you know to check out those signature stuffed sourdough grilled cheeses, what’s the best avenue for them to follow along?

Phillip Wanke 05:06
You can message me on Facebook, you can email us directly off the website or Facebook either way. Just monkeybusinesscatering@gmail.com can reach me. Come out. Find us when we’re out, try our food and talk to me on the spot. I’m always on the truck, so. I’m not a stay at home owner, I’m on there working. So come on by and chat and we’ll see what we can do for you. This summer is booking up very quickly. So right now we’re looking at fall dates, but July and August are already completely gone every day.

Amy Gabay 05:42
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse Local. Find out more about us at lacrosse local.com and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


About La Crosse Local

La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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