FARGO — Be on the lookout for a new food truck in the Fargo-Moorhead area come summertime.

Ben Walker, alongside his wife Nicole and fellow chef Jacob Lutz, founded Diamond Daisy, which is currently offering to-go catering, lunches and dinners inside the Plains Art Museum. The crew plans to debut a food truck in the coming warmer months as well.

Walker — a Fargo native, Minnesota State University Moorhead graduate and 20-year veteran of the food service industry — said he opened Diamond Daisy to go his own way after spending the better part of the past two decades at Sarello's and Maxwell's.

"I was kind of at a point in my life where I was wanting to do something for myself," he said. "I'd been in the industry but just wanted to do something for myself."

Diamond Daisy's menu began with take-and-bake, pre-made meals to suit a wide range of tastes on a rotating menu.

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"Our menu has a good variety. We can do anything from home comfort food to international fare," Walker said of Diamond Daisy's offerings. "We don't really have a target cuisine or a label technically."

The eatery will soon be expanding its scope to include to-go or delivered lunches and dinners as well.

"We're kind of just starting slow with some pre-made meals during the week, but we're starting our to-go and delivery service out of the Plains Art Museum on Feb. 16," Walker said. Delivery will be available through third-party services.

Popular items on Diamond Daisy's recent Super Bowl-themed menu, Walker said, have been pulled pork sandwiches as well as bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, representing the Kansas City Chiefs and their barbecue-loving home city. Diamond Daisy also offered baked spanakopita dip and ropa vieja, a Cuban dish calling to mind Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Spanakopita dip is seen Friday, Feb. 5, in the Diamond Daisy kitchen at the Plains Art Museum, Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Spanakopita dip is seen Friday, Feb. 5, in the Diamond Daisy kitchen at the Plains Art Museum, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

To accommodate all diets, Walker has also offered a vegetarian menu. The objective is to see what resonates most with customers. "We're trying to put our tentacles out and just see what people are enjoying," Walker said. "We're not trying to keep ourselves in a box, we're just trying to keep a good variety."

Though Walker said the staff of the Plains Art Museum have been "really good to us" and he's thankful for the museum's central location, he soon plans to bring Diamond Daisy on four wheels with a food truck. He's working with a Texas-based fabricator to build the truck, which he plans to roll out in what will hopefully be a normal summer in the Red River Valley.

A food truck, Walker explained, is COVID-19-friendly and costs less to operate than a restaurant. "It's convenient these days with COVID-19 and everything to be mobile so people aren't gathered together," he commented. "It's also convenient for us with low overhead. Instead of starting a restaurant, it's nice to have a low overhead with a food truck and be able to be anywhere."

Freshly baked kaiser rolls are seen Friday, Feb. 5, in the Diamond Daisy kitchen at the Plains Art Museum, Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Freshly baked kaiser rolls are seen Friday, Feb. 5, in the Diamond Daisy kitchen at the Plains Art Museum, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Walker and his team are working to fill out their summer calendar, with their gaze set on events such as the Fargo Street Fair and Red River Market. He also hopes to continue working with the Plains Art Museum as well as the Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, Minn. "All these events will be in full-force or at least close to whatever normal is," he said. "We're kind of building our calendar right now and finding places we can be," he later continued.

As long as the pandemic is at bay, the plan is to work with local farms such as Ladybug Acres and Driscoll Farms for the summertime. "We're going to try to do some fresh fare in the summer menus," Walker said.

Other than preventing them from serving customers in person, Walker said the pandemic fortunately hasn't caused too many headaches.

"Just starting out, we're just getting the grasp of things and hopefully things turn around," he said. "I know a lot of restaurants are struggling. I know quite a bit of the restaurant community and it's been rough on everybody."

Still, the challenges of launching a new business — even in normal circumstances — remain.

"We're trying to get all our ducks in a row still. It's a process," Walker said. "It's not easy starting a new business."

With the prospect of COVID-19 becoming a distant memory as the year progresses, Diamond Daisy's plan is simple. "We want to be mobile, serve the community, work with local farmers and make good food for everybody," Walker concluded.