James Wells has years of experience in the restaurant industry. In February 2019, he put that to good use by opening Red Truck Café at the corner of Parker Road and Alma Drive in Plano.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the eatery offers everything from breakfast staples like corned beef hash and eggs benedict to lunch and dinner mainstays, such as chicken fried steak and an array of burgers and sandwiches.
The star of the menu is the Blue Plate Special, which rotates every weekday. Mondays it’s meatloaf, Tuesdays it’s pot roast, Wednesdays it’s turkey and dressing, Thursdays it’s chicken and dumplings and Fridays it’s fried fish.
Still have room for dessert? Red Truck Café serves a homemade cobbler of the day, along with homemade pies.
Wells previously ran popular Plano breakfast spot Poor Richard’s Café.
“Being part of the community, that’s probably the biggest thing,” Wells says. “We always strive to be a feather in the community’s hat, not a thorn in the side. We try to get involved and support local causes.”
One cause near to Wells’ heart is Blue Star Mothers of America, a nonprofit organization dating back to World War II. It provides support to mothers of active military and those who have had a son or daughter honorably discharged.
“They send care packages to soldiers from their area who are deployed overseas,” Wells says. “We do a benefit with them on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. They like to collect books and magazines for soldiers. We’re a drop-off point for that. Soldiers have a lot of downtime. They get pretty bored, so they want something to read. They like the books and magazines, which also make good packing material.”
In another nod to the military, Red Truck Café has menu items like Zero Dark Thirty, a breakfast special that runs until 9 a.m., and Military Grade SOS (Stuff on a Shingle), which features ground beef gravy over toast with two eggs.
Veterans comprise a significant chunk of Wells’ clientele.
“We have a lot of military retirees,” he says. “There’s a lot of military people in the area with the defense contractors like TI [and] Raytheon,” Wells says.
Like most businesses, Red Truck Café had to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Wells quickly shifted from dine-in service to a takeout-only model.
“It was a bad time because we could only do takeout — drop of 80 percent in business overnight,” he says. “We managed to work our way through it and keep our key staff. If we couldn’t have done that, we would have been out of business.”
Red Truck Café has earned a following through its home-cooked food, reasonable pricing and friendly service. Wells is at the restaurant often, sometimes seating customers.
“It’s the people [I love most about this business],” Wells says. “It’s a different challenge every day.”
910 W. Parker Road