Restart Flint grant helps popular food truck prepare for another busy season

FLINT, Michigan -- The Mr. Prince Gourmet Food Truck is more than just a growing and popular Flint business -- it also honors part of the city’s history. 

In the 1960s, a man who everyone knew as Mr. Prince had a famous hot tamale spot on Jamieson Street. He had the business until 1979 when he decided to retire, but it left a lasting impression on the city.

“I grew up in the Flint area, and in fact, it was like, about six houses away from the family business … a store kind of set in between right in the neighborhood,” said Teresa Chapman, who owns the food truck.

Chapman helped out in the restaurant when she was a young girl, and in 2015, she was inspired to bring the legendary name back to the city with her own food truck. With her grandfather’s original recipes and some new creations, they created a well-rounded menu.

“I started thinking back ... dreaming a little bit and got ahold of his recipes, and we kind of rekindled it: me, my sister and my brother,” Chapman said. 

The Mr. Prince Gourmet Food Truck is known for gourmet tacos and excellent customer service from Chapman and her team. The food truck is most famous for tacos, but they sell a variety of foods, including  hot tamales, chicken wings, and vegan, impossible-meat tacos and burgers.

The main home for the Mr. Prince truck is the Flint Farmers Market from May to November. Additionally, they travel to events like weddings, events and birthdays.

The food truck can be found at many local events, including Back to the Bricks, the Flint Jazz Festival, and the Hispanic festival downtown.

“We do charity events, you know, just anywhere where someone would call us and want us to dock and provide a quick meal on the run for them,” Chapman said.

Recently, the food truck was a recipient of the Restart Flint grant, a grant given by the Flint Chamber of Commerce. The grants were designed to help small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure they can continue to operate. 

“When I received that grant I was so humble, and I was very honored and very grateful that the food truck was able to stay open,” Chapman said. “Due to that funding employees were able to continue to receive a paycheck. So they wouldn't have to go into the unemployment line, and they were still able to maintain and feed their families.”  

Chapman has big dreams for her brand and business — she is looking forward to getting a brick and mortar business in the Flint area, as well as adding another food truck to cover events. She is determined to make the Mr. Prince brand bigger and continue to bring great customer service and loyalty to the city.

Mr. Prince Gourmet Food Truck will be opening in May at its usual location.

“We will be returning to the Flint Farmers Market full force with a team of 10, we'll be back open, and to be able to serve a community,” Chapman said.

Find more information about Mr. Prince Gourmet Food Truck on their website or Facebook page.

Read more articles by Megan Speaks.