WYBC & Yale University salute Ricky D’s Rib Shack

WYBC & Yale University salute Ricky D’s Rib Shack

Name: Ricky Evans

Business Name: Ricky D’s Rib Shack, 302 Winchester Avenue, New Haven

Year Business was started in New Haven:  

May 2013 (food truck)

June 2016 (restaurant)

Why did you start your own business?

After spending 4 years in Corporate America working in New York and New Jersey I realized it wasn’t for me and I’d much rather be cooking on the grill. After researching the best way to make a business out of it “without” opening a restaurant I found starting a food truck was my best option. 

Why did you choose to start your business in New Haven?

After putting my 2 weeks’ notice in at my job at the time and months of preparation of getting my food truck ready for business, I transitioned from New York to New Haven where my lady is originally from. That’s what brought me to New Haven. 

What challenges did you have to overcome in starting your business?  

My first challenge I encountered in starting my bbq business was now that I’ve found the perfect food truck to start how am I going to come up with $18k to purchase the food truck. So I withdrew $10k from my 401k (all that I accumulated from my short time in Corporate America) to put a down payment on the food truck. After my grandfather passed away, I found out that he left me $8k from his life insurance policy that was passed down to me. I was able to use that to pay off the balance. My initial challenge was overcome but later I would find out that there would be more challenges for me to overcome. 

After getting my food truck started and approved by all state and local departments my very next challenge was finding customers and getting my process established. I was new to New Haven and didn’t know the city nor the culture and all everyone told me at the time was go to park at Yale. I would say, “well where is Yale?” After moving around to multiple locations and vending at different times of day and night I ultimately found my location to setup to be on Chapel Street outside the Yale Art Gallery.