YANKEE DOODLE DANDY’S IS NYC’S FAVORITE ALL-AMERICAN FOOD TRUCK.
Okay, we’re NYC’s only all-American food truck, so we win by default.
That being said, we’re seriously one of NYC’s most popular food trucks. It wasn’t always that way, but by believing in what we are doing and with a commitment to delivering high quality food consistently and sticking to our corporate mantra of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Chicken, we’ve built something special.
New York City is a city built by the underdog. People come here from all over with nothing, and go after that American dream. Yankee Doodle Dandy’s has been that vehicle figuratively and literally for our founder, Josh Gatewood.
Josh started Yankee Doodle Dandy’s with money he won on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Yes. You read that right. The dude got on Who Wants to be a Millionaire after a relentless effort of getting on. He was broke and on food stamps with really nothing to lose. So he kept trying till he got on.
Josh did his undergrad and graduate education at the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina respectively. While receiving his southern education, he discovered his love of good fried chicken. Fast forward to January of 2012 when Josh moved to NYC to pursue a career in finance. He thought he had a chance with a prestigious bank, which fell through. Without many other serious prospects available, he ended up working at a boiler room on Wall Street. While he should have been studying for his Series 7&63, he thought of exit strategies to do anything other than that. That’s where he came up with the idea of Yankee Doodle Dandy’s. Right there on the 23rd floor of 14 Wall Street. He was long on ideas, but short on capital so he began applying for Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Yankee Doodle was first sang by British Regulars in their defense of the American colonists during the French and Indian War of 1756-1763. The American Colonial Militia served beside the British Regulars in their bright red coats, while our militia “uniforms” reflected our rustic persona as independent. In the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, Yankee Doodle could be heard playing on fife and drum as patriots rallied their countrymen to support the cause of independance from the mother country. Josh’s direct Gatewood ancestor served in the American Revolution, so as a son of the American Revolution—Josh thought Yankee Doodle Dandy’s would be a perfect name to capture the all-American essence of our food and brand.
While working for the boiler room, he was living in Jackson Heights, Queens and was pretty much broke. He was on food stamps, and without enough money to pay for rent in September of 2012, he made the decision to move back to Knoxville, Tennessee where his amazing sister Jocelyn was doing her MBA at Josh’s alma mater. He got there late Friday night/early Saturday morning for the Florida/Tennessee game, and the following Monday he got the phone call that would change his life. It was Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The producer from Millionaire informed Josh he was on the show this Thursday. She didn’t make any transportation offers and said if he didn’t get there in time, that was the only day they were going to film. He threw some stuff in a backpack and Jocelyn drove him to the bus station where he took a Megabus from Knoxville back to NYC.
When he got on the show, they asked Josh what his plan was when he won the million. It became the theme of the show—Josh said he was going to start Yankee Doodle Dandy’s. With a little bit of smarts, Josh put a solid effort in to the show and walked away with a little jingle in his pockets. He went back to Tennessee and mastered the art of fried chicken tenders. He moved back to NYC after rejuvenating his soul in his beloved east Tennessee, determined to make his business a success. He bought his first truck in September of 2013, and named her Betsy-—after Betsy Ross, who designed the first American flag during the Revolutionary War.
Betsy hit the streets of NYC in November of 2013. It was a rough start. People who tried our food absolutely LOVED it, and they couldn’t believe we weren’t busier with how good it was. We continued trucking and struggled through 2014. 2015 we began picking up steam…and by 2016 we launched our new logo and truck design and our brand really began taking off. Now we have three trucks—Dolly and Molly. We will definitely be opening new trucks and restaurants.
We want our food and brand to represent NYC and America. When you need fuel to get stuff done—Yankee Doodle Dandy’s has NYC covered. We love our city. And we’re looking forward to seeing how much this thing can grow.
Our goal is to expand to Philadelphia, DC, and Boston with trucks and restaurants. We’re going to make it happen too! Keep up with us and you’ll see it.