Freedom in French fries: a snack bar in the L 608

The Mercedes-Benz L 608 from the 1970s has been extensively converted into a food truck.

Michael Bruins Slot founded “Holland’s first organic snack bar” with the Hieper de Pieper, specializing in both ecology and that beach feeling.

From the beach to a start-up

Michael Bruins Slot was on a beach in Brazil when he decided he never wanted to work for a boss again. He was 30 years old at the time and was taking a sabbatical year to travel around the world. One thing was clear: he could no longer return to his life as a Sales Manager. “At the time I wanted to change everything”, he says with a laugh and plays in the sand with his feet. However, it is no longer the sand in Brazil that runs between his toes but rather on a beach near Amsterdam. Behind him is a turquoise food truck shining golden in the evening sun. His food truck. And the new life that he chose.

A team of five works in the Hieper de Pieper Mercedes-Benz food truck.

Multitasking on the road

“I never would have thought that this job would mean having to be so many things all at once,” says Bruins Slot with a laugh and ties back his hair. “Now I am the chef, designer, sales manager, human resources manager, marketing manager and electrician all at once. The same time I sometimes feel like a hippie when I drive from festival to festival in my L 608 from the 70s.” The festivals are culinary events in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Hieper de Pieper, “Holland’s first organic snack bar” offers fast food from organic production. The specialty: freshly made French fries with braised beef. But his own invention, seaweed croquettes with wasabi mayonnaise, is always a popular choice. “I love the atmosphere at these festivals”, explains the young entrepreneur, “when different cultures encounter each other and share a passion for food.”

The turquoise -colored Mercedes-Benz van is an eye-catcher at the food truck festivals.

Hard work and good music

In Holland, Hieper de Pieper, which when translated roughly means “the high-energy potato”, has had to survive in the face of tough competition. Alongside the quality of his food, Bruins Slot also relies on the charm of his truck. “We have completely renovated the Mercedes-Benz L 608 D and even equipped a vending machine for all types of stuff on the side”, he explains and places the wooden pallets in front of the sales window. “Now it is unique, beautiful and simply impossible to kill thanks to its Mercedes-Benz diesel engine.” But what about the independence that he chose on the beach in Brazil? “My team and I, we all work extremely hard and a lot. I never imagined it would be like this. But the flexibility that we have with the food truck in contrast to a restaurant means very often end up in the most beautiful places with happy people and good music. That makes up for everything. That really feels a lot like freedom.”

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Vehicle profile
Model range Mercedes-Benz L 608 Diesel
Year of construction 1977
Background The previous owners used the van as a camping bus and trailer for their motorbikes. In 2014 Hieper de Pieper bought the van and remodeled it completely: with a kitchen, two sales windows on the side and a vending machine for all sorts of fun items. The major bonus: The van runs on the oil that was previously used for cooking.
The charming Mercedes-Benz van and the aroma of French fries magnetically attract the masses.

Hieper de Pieper Food Truck
Amsterdam | Holland
www.hieperdepieper.nl

Photos: De Telegraaf, MamaMoringa