Gypsy Taco fans may have to wait a while longer for the food trailer to be fully functional at Boone & Crockett due to some unfortunate (and potentially fraudulent) circumstances.
Chef Mitch Ciohon, owner of Gypsy Taco, thought he was making a good move when he contacted Georgia food truck fabricator USA Concessions (which may also operate under the name Concessions USA) about building a food trailer. The company's site – which has since been taken down – contained glowing reviews, and great photos of custom food trucks and trailers with a variety of amenities.
Ciohon says that when he contacted the company, the owner Zachary Singleton was cheerful, knowledgeable and responsive. In fact, everything seemed in order when he sent a downpayment of $11,000 to USA Concessions, with the expectation that a finished trailer would be delivered to Milwaukee on or before July 6.
Ciohon began to get suspicious when, he says, Singleton stopped returning his calls.
"After July 6, correspondence became very sparse," says Ciohon. "I was calling every day and sending emails. The emails I got back were simply stall tactics … telling me they still needed to put in the windows, things like that."
Ciohon was annoyed, but not suspicious, until he received a notification from his leasing company that they had become aware of the arrest of one Zach Singleton, and that they were not honoring any deals with the associated company – or anyone who was affiliated with the company – as a result.
At that point, Ciohon started digging. After googling Zach Singleton's name, he ran across a Facebook page called "My nightmare experience with with CFB Manufacturing - Dahlonega, GA" on which customers were complaining about a business owner with the same name.
It appears that USA Concession operated as CFB Manufacturing in 2013-14, and has operated under numerous other names, as well, including Concession USA. Stories online speculate that Singleton allegedly starts up a new fabrication company every few years, builds a few trucks, gleans a few positive reviews and then uses those reviews to attract new customers from whom he collects payment but to whom he never delivers product.
Countless other online sources, including RipOffReport.com, feature numerous consumer complaints in which customers of USA Concessions (and other companies with similar names, also owned by Singleton) handed over deposits for food trucks and trailers, and have subsequently been unable to collect refunds for undelivered goods.
Allegedly, multiple complaints have been filed against Singleton. A recent article from an Arizona media site reports that Singleton has now been arrested on charges related to a similar food truck scenario involving an Arizona business owner.
We reached out to Singleton by phone for a comment; however, he did not return our calls.
On Thursday, the following was posted on Gypsy Taco's Facebook page:
Ciohon is understandably frustrated by the situation, but says he’ll find a way to work things out.
Currently, he’s working on obtaining a license for a smaller trailer (a "Gypsy Taco Mini," if you will) to use at Boone & Crockett until he can collect funds to order a new customized rig.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.