It all started with a hot dog stand on Public Square.
Floyd “Snook” Austin sold all-beef hot dogs on the square almost 10 years ago before he had to stop because of his job as a tractor-trailer driver.
“It was hard to find dependable people,” Austin said. “I was there for two to three summers, but I was on the road a lot.”
Snook drove a tractor-trailer for the last 16 years, but after trouble with a herniated disk in his back and three surgeries, he decided to go back to where he started: a food truck.
Now, customers can find him manning Snook’s Wings & Things near Northampton and South Main streets in Wilkes-Barre or at Avoca Farmer’s Market on Wednesday afternoons.
“I established this truck at the end of May, beginning of June 2017,” Austin said. “I got four screws in my back during my third surgery only a year ago. This is still hard to do with my back, but I enjoy it.”
At first, Austin thought he should go back to grilling up hot dogs, but one day he and his physical therapist were joking around about a pig on a food truck. They realized they might actually be on to something if Austin used his nickname for a food truck and kept it simple by telling customers just what they would get: “wings and things.”
“Snook is my name. All my family and fiends call me it,” he said. “Down to my grandmother who is 100, (everyone) calls me ‘Snook.’”
The truck’s best-seller at the moment is the chicken cheesesteak with onions and peppers. He sold mostly chicken wings in his first couple months of cooking, but now customers find other favorites on the menu.
“Hot wings are still a popular item, but a lot of customers get hamburgers or the chicken cheesesteak too,” he said.
The prices range from $1 for water to $9.50 for a dozen wings. Customers can get wings with barbecue, mild, hot and garlic Parmesan sauce.
It is “just Snook” who works the truck, Austin explained, although his son, Jordan, occasionally helps. His children are the main reason he could open a food truck featuring his cooking.
“I am a single parent,” he said. “A parent of four kids — that’s how I learned to cook more than I already knew how.”
Austin takes pride in the simplicity and quality of his food. He cooks everything to order so he doesn’t have to throw away any wasted food at the end of the day. He urges customers to order ahead by calling 570-793-1472 and then pick up their food.
“The people have been great, even on the bad days,” Austin said. “The people make it worth it.”
Snook’s Wings & Things
Address: Food truck usually found near South Main and Northampton streets, Wilkes-Barre
Established: June 2017
Owner: Floyd “Snook” Austin
Cuisine: Wings, burgers, cheesesteaks, meatballs and fries