The aroma of fresh deep-fried funnel cakes is hard to resist.
Steven Seidel, owner of Funnels restaurant in Northfield, counts on tempting shoppers for a sweet treat. Funnels opened in May near the Harkins Theatres, next door to Marco’s Pizza. “Northfield was our first choice when we decided to open a brick-and-mortar location,” said Seidel, who operated a food truck since 2013. “We wanted a high-traffic area, and what is better than being near a movie theater?”
Seidel and his daughter, Sierra, came up with the idea for a funnel-cakes business in 2008 at a Colorado National Speedway event. “We were standing in line at a funnel cake stand and it took about half an hour to get served. The cakes weren’t very good either. Sierra was 12 at the time and we thought it would be nice to get good funnel cakes anytime, not just at public events. So we wrote a business plan.”
The Funnels food truck started rolling in 2013, when Seidel converted an Orion II mass transit bus into a food truck. “It rides on air bags that lower down to the ground, which allows our shorter customers to see inside and watch us make the funnel cakes,” said Seidel, whose background includes accounting and finance in the hospitality industry.
The food truck caters at festivals, community events, weddings, company events and private parties. Funnels’ first event in 2013 was the Hot Rod Hill Climb in Georgetown. “In a 20,000-pound truck, it took a while to get up the mountain. After that we decided to stick to events in the metro area.”
Funnel cakes are made with batter poured through a funnel into the deep fryer. The sweet fried dough is traditionally topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon, but Funnels offers various creative toppings. “We have the Elvis with peanut butter and banana,” said Seidel. “We also serve the Fundae, like a banana split with funnel cake on either side instead of banana. Bacon fries are bacon strips dipped in funnel cake batter and served with maple syrup.”
He said the most popular offering is strawberry cheesecake, invented by Sierra. Now 21, Sierra works at Funnels restaurant in the afternoons.
For more information, see funwithfunnels.com.