The Gospel Chick serves South­ern food in a truck

‘It’s the gospel ac­cord­ing to fried chicken,’ owner says

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By CAROL SMITH [email protected]­news.com

“I keep it clas­sic and sim­ple, and as south­ern as pos­si­ble,” says Ger­ald Lee Ricks, owner of Calvert County’s new­est food truck, The Gospel Chick.

Ricks cel­e­brated his food truck’s grand open­ing Dec. 20 at Scor­pion Brew­ing Com­pany in Owings, serv­ing up South­ern fried chicken, ribs and fried fish din­ners, corn­bread muffins, baked beans, coleslaw, col­lard green egg rolls and mac and cheese as part of his menu of sig­na­ture dishes.

“It’s south­ern clas­sic dishes, com­fort foods,” Ricks said.

Ricks and his wife, Crys­tal Ricks, re­cently moved to the county from the At­lanta, Ga., area where Ricks said he pur­sued his pas­sions for mu­sic and the min­istry, and ran a bou­tique cater­ing busi­ness of his own.

“By trade, I’m a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian and con­duc­tor,” Ricks said. “I have de­grees in cho- ral con­duct­ing and vo­cal mu­sic. I taught high school mu­sic for years — worked with or­ches­tras.”

“I also worked in min­istry,” he said. “I did a shift to full-time min­istry work. I was con­duct­ing church choirs, serv­ing as a wor­ship pas­tor, gospel con­certs, you name it, in the United Methodist Church … I did that full-time for years, church to church.”

“We vis­ited Wash­ing­ton, D.C., about two years ago just to go to the African Amer­i­can Mu­seum and de­cided that we loved the cul­ture and di­ver­sity here,” he added. “We knew we wanted a change, just didn’t know where. We wanted a slower pace of things, so my wife im­me­di­ately started look­ing for jobs in the DMV, and Calvert was one of those places.”

Ricks said their move to the county also brought him one step closer to his dream to own a restau­rant when he “stepped out on faith” to launch The Gospel Chick food truck. Serv­ing South­ern Mary­land and sur­round­ing ar­eas, The Gospel Chick’s name and menu re­flect Ricks’ love of South­ern foods and gospel mu­sic.

“The con­cept came like a dream, an ac­tual dream. I woke up and said ‘The Gospel Chick, that’s it!,’” Ricks re­called. “The menu items started com­ing to me. The By and By and Amaz­ing Grace, just com­ing from hymns and things that I thought of when I ate good food or looked at the ac­tual menu item that I was try­ing to craft.”

“You think of the By and By, that’s just a stan­dard two-piece quar­ter chicken, so I just took that from a hymn ‘By and By,’” Ricks said. “And then, Amaz­ing Grace, a lot of peo­ple don’t know about South­ern fried ribs … to me, when I eat that, I just think ‘this is amaz­ing,’ and Amaz­ing Grace came out of that as the name for that par­tic­u­lar meal.”

The Gospel Chick food truck, based in Prince Fred­er­ick, serves madeto-or­der fried chicken, fried ribs and fried fish meals, corn­bread muffins, homemade sides and sauces, lo­cally baked cup­cake desserts, and re­fresh­ments, on select days of the week at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions in the county.

The com­pany also fea­tures an on­line ser­vice for plac­ing or­ders in ad­vance, pro­vides food truck ser­vices at lo­cal events and of­fers drop-off cater­ing for par­ties and spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

Billy Saun­ders, branch man­ager of Move­ment Mort­gage, said he and his co-work­ers have been reg­u­lar cus­tomers of The Gospel Chick ever since the food truck first made Prince Fred­er­ick one of its weekly stops. “We were all able to ex­pe­ri­ence some of the great food that he pre­pares. In par­tic­u­lar, my fa­vorite is the fried chicken and mac­a­roni and cheese,” Saun­ders said. “There’s five of us in the of­fice and we all go over and eat when he’s here.”

In 2019, Ricks says he plans to add a din­ner op­tion to his food truck’s menu and looks to grow The Gospel Chick’s wed­ding cater­ing and bach­e­lor party ser­vices.

“It’s the gospel ac­cord­ing to fried chicken,” Ricks said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on The Gospel Chick, menu and weekly sched­ule of times and lo­ca­tions, go to www.face­book. com/thegospelchick or www. thegospelchick. com.

PHO­TOS BY CAROL SMITH

Ger­ald Lee Ricks, owner of The Gospel Chick food truck based in Prince Fred­er­ick, serves up South­ern clas­sic cui­sine to cus­tomers in South­ern Mary­land and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Here is The Gospel Chick food truck set up at its grand open­ing cel­e­bra­tion held Dec. 20 at Scor­pion Brew­ing Com­pany in Owings.

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