Drive past the No Pork On My Fork food trailer in Bond Hill on any given day and you’ll see a line of customers. Owner Willie “Wil” Hearn knows that when you try his breakfast and brunch specials, you’ll be happy to stand in that line, too.
We spoke to Hearn about how he got started, how he made a name for himself at Cincy Soul: The Black Taste festival, and how he’s getting his business through the pandemic.
How did you get started cooking for a living?
It started as a hobby at first. Once I kept cooking and gaining confidence, I started selling food from my home. I was selling so much that I was forced to upgrade and get out of the house.
Why did you feel going into business for yourself was the way to go?
Working jobs and hustling just wasn’t for me. I knew I had something special with my cooking, and if I dedicated myself to it I knew I could be really successful.
How did you come up with the concept for No Pork On My Fork?
I always wanted to offer something different each time I cooked. I like to show my versatility. I never want to be known as the guy who can only cook one thing well, so with my trailer we offer different menus each day so everyone has a favorite day.
Where does the name come from?
Jay-Z is one of my favorite rap artists. The line “no pork on my fork” came from one of his songs.
No Pork On My Fork started as a catering company in 2013. Why did you decide you wanted a mobile location?
The demand was there to feed the public more than the need for catering. It was hard making the choice to stop catering, but we are working on bringing that aspect back.
What are your best-selling dishes?
Tacos and salmon and grits, hands down. Taco Tuesdays at the trailer are a real event. People line up and wait as long as an hour to get tacos. Salmon and grits was an item I created when I was doing deliveries to different barbershops and salons in the city. It took off and now I can’t keep them in. They sell out in less than an hour.
What is it about your tacos and salmon and grits that makes people like them so much?
The flavors are unmatched. These are not the grits you grew up on! And everyone makes tacos, but everyone does not have our special Big Wil Sauce on them.
“Big Wil Sauce?” What’s in it—or is it a secret?
[Laughs] It’s definitely a secret.
Fair, fair. How have things changed for you since your breakout showing at Cincy Soul food festival in 2016?
Cincy Soul was huge for me. The exposure I got from being on the news that weekend was amazing. Our line for both days of the festival never stopped. I was able to reach such a large crowd that weekend, and we became a household name. The demand for my food has gone through the roof since then.
What’s the best thing about running No Pork On My Fork?
Being able to provide great food for the community and jobs to people who need them. Being an inspiration for others.
How have you been weathering the pandemic? In what ways has it changed how you run your business?
It’s been steady. We are only running a three-day schedule to keep the risk of getting infected down. It’s harder to find certain items nowadays but we try to make magic out of what we do have.
No Pork On My Fork, 1669 California Ave., Bond Hill, (513) 915-3156