After Braden Walter Jr. was injured in a car crash last year, he had a lot of time to think about his future.
Walter’s been a barista in Pittsburgh for more than a decade. When he was hurt, “the entire coffee community, they just supported me so much,” he told The Incline.
That’s when he knew that coffee was his ultimate calling: “Serving Pittsburghers awesome coffee is definitely what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Walter, 30, recently launched his own food truck, Redhawk Coffee, which offers coffee, espresso drinks, pie and biscuits. He’s worked at a bunch of local shops, including Espresso a Mano for the past several years.
“There’s a lot of good coffee in Pittsburgh … There’s definitely shops I look up to,” Walter said. “But there can always be more good coffee, for sure.”
Walter sells espresso drinks like macchiatos, cortados and lattes, single cups of coffee and bottles of cold brew. He sources beans from Passenger Coffee roasted in Lancaster, Pa.
He also offers slices of pie baked at Food Glorious Food, a Highland Park bakery owned by Walter’s father and his father’s partner, as well as biscuits with preserves and honey.
Please note: There will be bacon jam.
One of the areas Walter plans to target is Oakland, “a huge hole in the coffee scene,” he said. He also wants to set up near TV and film shoots and make the truck available for weddings.
For that reason, the truck’s design “couldn’t be too gritty,” he said. “In my nature, I’d like to have a punk-rock food truck, that’s all ratted out.” Instead, he designed it to have a “charm to it.”
This Saturday, Redhawk Coffee will be at Washington’s Landing from 8:30 to 11:30 during the St. Jude Walk/Run the End Childhood Cancer. Walter said he will make announcements about the truck’s location on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Walter isn’t exactly sure what to expect operating his own food truck. “I don’t really know … if the Parking Authority is going to be chasing me around or what,” he said. He has some friends who already operate trucks, and he plans to pick their brains. (He does have a license for the truck already.)
What Walter does know is that he needed to take the next step in his career for the sake of his family (his wife, Mary Gonzales, is already “the backbone” of the operation, he said) and that he loves to serve coffee. Oh, and also…
“I just thought it would be a lot of fun, honestly.”