Q&A with 5-2-oh the local Asian fusion food truck

You may have seen them around the community, the little red food truck with long lines and Korean pork and kimchi tacos. The craze is real and if you can get to them before they sell out, their food will make your stomach happy.

"In our kitchen we want everyone to enjoy their food. Including people with limited dietary options. If we have the ingredients to make it, we will. No one leaves hungry, only happy."  -Autumn Filburn, co-owner of 5-2-oh

John Filburn has been a chef in Arizona for over ten years, and a banquet chef for five. While in Arizona, he quickly worked his way up to sous-chef at Shula's Steak House, the fine dining restaurant chain founded by Miami Dolphins football coaching legend Don Shula.

The couple decided to follow their dreams after they started a family, and moved back locally to Bay City, where they opened their food truck on June 9th, 2018. His wife Autumn was raised in Auburn, Michigan, and brings to the table over ten years of restaurant experience.

Together, the duo runs 5-2-oh, a powerhouse mobile kitchen from inside an 8x10 foot food truck, bringing new, Asian-fusion inspired flavors to long lines of food truck fans all over the Great Lakes Bay Region. We talked with Autumn Filburn about what inspires their work, and their favorite parts of the job!

John and Autumn Filburn with their son on their first year anniversary with the 5-2-oh food truck.

Q: Autumn, what inspired you and John to open 5-2-oh?

A: We found that we were unhappy with some of the aspects of our regular jobs. Growing up, John's mother owned a patty wagon, and he has memories of that from when he was a child. It has always been a dream of his to start his own food business.

Q: It sounds like you're making that dream come true! What were your backgrounds before starting your very successful business?

A: John worked as a chef for over fifteen years in many different restaurants and I was a waitress. I also had a normal 9-to-5 job.

Q: You have some distinct and exciting flavors that are quite different. What inspires you when crafting your recipes?

A: Our inspiration comes when we ask ourselves the question "What can we bring to the Tri-Cities that people can't get anywhere else?". We love to play with our food, recipes and flavors, and our family gets to test out new recipes all the time. From there, if they like it, then we put it on the menu to test and see if the public likes it.

Q: So, you guys locate in Midland often, but you’ve also joined in on the Food Truck Festival that started recently at the Ashman Circle in Midland. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

A: We absolutely love going to Midland! This is the first year for the Food Truck Festival and we are really excited to be a part of the first season. We’ve often gone to food truck festivals in Detroit, so having one here is something the region has needed. It being the first year of the festival, we are still learning as we go but we predict that it will only get better each year!

Q: What is your favorite thing about owning a food truck?

A: Definitely the fact that we can make so many people happy with our food, it is really something we enjoy. Beyond that, we get to make our own hours, and our almost four-year-old loves being on the trailer with us, so often it is a whole family affair.

Q: What would you say some of the more challenging aspects of running a food truck business are?

A: We have received so much positive feedback and encouragement from around the community, so thus far, the most challenging part has definitely been trying to keep up with the number of requests we get for events. Our summer was fully booked before we knew it!

Q: That sounds like a great problem to have! What is your favorite thing to cook when you're NOT on the truck?

A: Any meal that gets family and friends involved, or together.

Q: Who would you say is your "food truck crush"?

A: Kogi Korean BBQ, a food truck fleet based out of Los Angeles, owned by Roy Choi. He is like the godfather of Asian fusion food trucks!

A big thank you to Autumn Filburn for joining us! You can learn more about 5-2-oh by visiting their Facebook page. See you in the 5-2-oh line!

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Read more articles by Andrea Foster.

Andrea Foster is a writer for Catalyst Midland, and in her full time job an environmental educator for Little Forks Conservancy. She is a mother, a partner, an activist and a feminist. In her spare time she enjoys volunteering, kayaking, hiking, knitting, curling up on the couch with her cats and projects that benefit her community.