Dawn Hall still considers Happy Belly Kitchen to be a “little family-run company,” she said, so it’s exciting that the eatery is going to be featured on national television this week.
Happy Belly Kitchen will be on the Season 2 premiere of Cooking Channel’s “Food Truck Nation.” The episode will air Tuesday, July 16, at 9 p.m.
Happy Belly’s food truck will be one of three featured in the episode of the popular television show where host and chef Brad Miller travels the country to find “the best meals on wheels.”
“We’re just really excited to be given the opportunity,” Hall said.
Happy Belly’s TV debut is happening thanks in part to the company’s kitchen manager, Josh Urech. His wife works for the Atlanta-based Television Food Network, which owns the Cooking Channel. She mentioned Happy Belly to the show’s producers, and soon they were connecting with Hall.
The “Food Truck Nation” crew, along with host Miller, came to film in Forsyth County twice in mid-May, Hall said, for a total of nearly 14 hours. They followed along with Happy Belly while Hall and company worked the Alpharetta Food Truck Alley event, then returned later and filmed Hall in the food truck at Happy Belly’s restaurant location at Vickery Village.
Hall was struck by the complexity of the process, she said.
“It was very detailed,” Hall said. “They’re sharp. … In the filming, we had to do a number of different takes putting together a burger. It was definitely not something thrown together.”
Each food truck in the episode gets to show off one menu item, and Happy Belly will highlight its “Georgian burger” – a short-rib brisket burger topped with Vidalia onion relish, cheddar cheese and ancho chilli dressing on a bun from Holeman and Finch, a Buckhead bakery.
But Hall also gets to share the Happy Belly story.
Hall and her husband, Terry, started the business in 2012 as one of the first food trucks in the Atlanta area. They wanted to make it easier to enjoy “clean eating” with fresh, seasonal ingredients, particularly for families.
The food truck trend took off, and so did Happy Belly’s business, enough that they soon needed a second truck. Terry died from lung cancer in February of 2014, leaving Hall with a 6-month-old and a booming business, but she pushed ahead and opened the company’s brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2017.
Hall loves Happy Belly’s story, she said. She’s excited to share it with a national television office.
And a little nervous.
“Just the fact of my face being on national television,” Hall said. “Just worried what they’re going to catch me saying. [But] I’m excited for the company.”