Published: 03/16/2022

/ Faculty Projects

Frita Air

As Frita Batidos, a fast-casual food enterprise, grows in popularity, the need for a more agile foodservice strategy and more expansive customer outreach was detected. A mobile food unit seemed to fit the bill, and Frita AIR was conceived as that vehicle. More than a food truck but less than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, Frita AIR camps out for 9 months or so in and around Detroit. Stationary for a season, the converted Airstream acts as a neighborhood beacon and gathering point where spontaneous kinships forge over refreshing batidos and flavorful fritas. By staying put for a season, a more consistent customer base is nurtured one neighborhood at a time. In winter, the Airstream retreats to an indoor barn for its annual deep-clean and spit-shine.

Prepping the mobile unit for service was laborious. Due to extreme wear and tear, a complete teardown and refurbishment of the 1971 Airstream International was necessary. Additional steel framing was added to the chassis to accommodate the new food service program and its array of required equipment. Potable and gray-water tanks were relocated and doubled in number. The electrical supply was quadrupled. Air conditioning and floor drainage were installed, as was new lighting and fire suppression equipment. This process took over a year to complete. 9000 lbs later and with the expert help of Woodland Airstream and Premiere Graphics of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Frita AIR debuted in Detroit’s Midtown Dog Park in early 2020 – mere months before the national shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, with indoor dining restrictions and social distancing in effect, Frita AIR became a lifeline for the business and community alike. Frita AIR continued to serve throughout the pandemic and performed as de-facto, community watering hole. As the mother restaurants begin to re-open, Frita AIR will transition back to its original “convivial” and mobile, social mission.

Assistants: Nick Hudyma (metropoetics) + Marco Nieto

Client: Eve Aronoff/Frita Batidos, LLC


Neal Robinson

/ Gallery