May Foodie: Dyke Michaels of Beast Food Truck

With plenty of experience in tiny kitchens, Beast chef Dyke Michaels beefs up the food truck scene.

Burgers built with Fischer Farms beef and cheeky toppings like cookie butter and Chinese Five Spice made Beast a stalk-worthy quarry when the food truck debuted last June. But the apparent ease with which chef Dyke Michaels rolled out his concept belied more than a decade of kitchen work and culinary training—and a savvy alignment with the neighborhood that first supported him. 

Michaels honed his chops in kitchens across the state, from a camp mess hall to an airport hotel, then formalized his education at The Art Institute’s culinary school. He showed off those skills at Black Acre Brewing Company, where he helped develop nibbles for the Irvington taproom in a tiny kitchen that offered only a panini press and a fryer, limitations that turned Michaels into a brunchtime MacGyver.

The experience prepared him for his next adventure—flipping elevated burgers within the confines of a truck—and endeared him to customers-turned-investors. “We hadn’t really seen a food truck that had attached itself to a neighborhood,” says Michaels. “It’s important to take Irvington with us wherever we go, and bring people back in.”

This year, he and his partner, former Black Acre and Jockamo server Casey Alexander, hope to introduce catering gigs and curbsides around Indy to what they call Food Truck 2.0—with seating, servers, cornhole, and a Nintendo 64 to play as you wait. And, of course, count on a weekly stint along the eastside streets where it all started. 

Dyke Michael’s Favorite Things

(1) Cannellini beans: “I use them in place of rice and pasta, and I make hummus out of them. If you get fresh beans and soak them, they’re going to be the best.”
(2) Black Acre’s Natural Liberty pale lager: “The best beer in the city. I love Citra hops.”
(3) Love Handle: “We’ve used their pork belly a couple of times.”
(4) J. Clyde’s Pub: “I like my dive bars. It’s such an eastside staple.”
(5) Biscuits Restaurant: “It’s a diner and Mexican food smashed together—two of my favorite things.”

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A native of Inman, South Carolina, Amanda Heckert graduated from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina and began her career in journalism as an intern at Atlanta magazine. She then edited Newcomer magazine, a monthly covering Atlanta real estate, entertainment, arts, dining, and education, and helped launch a sister publication, Atlanta School Guide.In 2006, Heckert returned to Atlanta magazine and worked her way up from associate editor covering fashion and lifestyle to senior editor. In that position, she edited and wrote features on topics such as Dasani bottled water and The Real Housewives of Atlanta; contributed to and edited the front-of-book; and edited service and non-service packages, including the September 2011 Hollywood Issue, nominated for a City and Regional Magazine Association Award.Heckert joined Indianapolis Monthly in February 2012 and enjoys getting to know the Circle City with her husband, writer Justin Heckert, and their dog, Cooper.