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Bean Box adds roadside cafe in Niagara

BEAN BOX OPENED for business as a walk-up and drive-thru cafe May 31, offering coffee, breakfast items, wraps and paninis for breakfast and lunch. Shown are Brooke McNutt, left, and owner Lindsey Van Hulla. (Jim Paul/Daily News photo)

NIAGARA, Wis. — Despite having never worked in the food service industry, Bean Box owner Lindsey Van Hulla has always wanted to own a food truck — a dream she recently realized when she converted a camper into a walk-up and drive-thru cafe parked along Main Street in Niagara.

Van Hulla, who previously worked as a furniture designer, chose to open the Bean Box in Niagara because that’s where she makes her home.

Finding the place to park the Bean Box on Main Street did not prove difficult, Van Hulla said.

“All of the stars aligned and we ended up being in the spot we are in,” Van Hulla said. “I just knew that I wanted to be in Niagara because the community needed something different.”

Although the Bean Box is a trailer and not quite a food truck, Van Hulla is fine with that. Given what they offer, a little more room was needed than what a truck might offer, she explained.

BEAN BOX IS at 980 Main St. in Niagara, Wis. (Jim Paul/Daily News photo)

“We have the drive-through, we make everything on the truck and we are fast,” Van Hulla said. “I wanted something that is convenient for people on their way to work, so we are trying to be more of a drive-through cafe than a food truck.”

The whole process of getting the trailer ready to open in May came together quickly, given the Bean Box was still a camper in the beginning of April. Even though Van Hulla had designed kitchens, none had been a commercial kitchen.

“It was a little more work than I anticipated,” Van Hulla said. “I never worked in food, so it was a little complicated figuring out where to put things.”

Unlike many owners that open a food truck and transfer to a brick and mortar site, Van Hulla said she is happy with the food truck concept, that the overhead is low while she still is able to serve a lot of food.

She would, however, like to add more outdoor seating at some point.

“The community has been really supportive. They all thank us for bringing something into Niagara,” Van Hulla said. “Everyone is really happy we are here.”

The Bean Box’s menu features coffee drinks, Italian sodas, wraps and paninis for breakfast and lunch.

“We offer as much stuff as we possibly can for a little food truck,” Van Hulla said. “We have been focusing on the breakfast items because they seem to be doing the best.”

In fact, those items have sold so well the Bean Box now offers breakfast all day. Recently added to the menu are pancakes, including the mini breakfast pancake cone, a pancake cone filled with hash brown potatoes, bacon or sausage and topped with cheese.

The wraps are recent menu additions as well and have become some of the most popular items. The Sparky has bacon and sausage, hash browns, onions, nacho and pepperjack cheese and topped with salsa.

Among the lunch items offered are chicken and pulled pork wraps and paninis and the recently added Philly cheesesteak.

Van Hulla said the key to Bean Box’s coffee drinks is cold brew espresso — the taste is less bitter than what other coffee shops might provide, she explained. There are also make muffins on site to go with the coffee.

The Bean Box is at 980 Main St. in Niagara and is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Online ordering for pick up can be done at www.beanboxniagara.com or delivery is available through DoorDash. The Bean Box plans to remain open all year.

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The Daily News plans to highlight some of the new businesses in the region. Know of one that recently opened or changed hands? Contact Jim Paul at 906-774-2772, ext. 229, or jpaul@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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