In 2020, a new face (read: rooster) strutted into the Lake Minnetonka culinary scene. A family-owned business, Bad Rooster food truck, set up shop on Minnetonka Mills Road and began traveling around the Twin Cities, bringing with it a variety of inspired chicken recipes and fiery sauces.
Soulaire Allerai, the saucy engine behind Bad Rooster, wears many career and life hats—owner of the Soulful Journey Wellness Center, spiritual director and lead minister of Living Faith Spiritual Community (LFSC), life strategist, host of the Get Real with Soulaire podcast, mother and partner.
At Bad Rooster, Allerai works alongside a team of close friends and family members, including her son, Soulmar, who is the head chef.
The food truck hit the road in March 2020. When the pandemic and subsequent initial quarantine arrived, the team decided to take an opportunity to perfect recipes and relaunched the food truck a month later. “The downtime kind of helped us work out our kinks,” Allerai says. “Launching a business in COVID is insane.”
For the uninitiated, Bad Rooster’s menu includes favored family recipes, chicken sourced from humane-practice farms in Minnesota, sauces crafted with local ingredients (maple from Sapsucker Farms in Mora) and brioche buns from Franklin Street Bakery in Minneapolis. Add to it a heaping portion of cleanliness. “My people that are here with us have the same values,” Allerai says. “They believe in clean. They believe in sanitary. They believe in health code safety.”
In the short time that Bad Rooster has been operating, it has gathered a dedicated fan base that will wait for hours in line, drive from the border of Canada and even fly in from out of state to procure their favorite order, according to Allerai. Roberta Brown, a Bad Rooster regular and self-proclaimed “huge fan,” says her go-to order is the crispy Nay Nay or chicken tender basket. Her tips for a newbie? “[Order the] chicken tender basket, and choose your homemade sauce. Make sure to get the Cluck Sauce for the waffle fries.”
“We’re not fast food,” Allerai says. “I don’t skimp on quality. I don’t cut corners. You’re going to get what I tell you.” Though lines may be long, Allerai and Bad Rooster fans know this is a testament to the quality of and hard work behind the food. They might also have something to do with the 14 sauce varieties, which range from “sweet” to “out of your cluckin’ mind.”
Want to take some of that signature cluck sauce home with you? Keep an eye out for the future Bad Rooster ventures, which could include bottled sauces and even a brick-and-mortar location. In the meantime, find Bad Rooster serving at its home base, the Soulful Journey Wellness Center, or visiting various locations and events around the Twin Cities. Check its website’s calendar for updated scheduling. Pro Tip: Use the online ordering system to skip the lines.
Chicken with a Side of Kindness
Bad Rooster is founded on Allerai’s personal mantra: “If you’re going to do it, do it your best. Don’t do it halfway.” This is evident through its commitment to great cooking and health standards, but, more importantly, how the business utilizes profits.
“I love Soulaire and everyone that works with her,” says Brown, as she praises the spirit of giving that follows every profit of Bad Rooster. “What a big heart Soulaire has.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, earnings from Bad Rooster were used to help cover the rent of the 13 businesses that also occupy the building where Allerai’s wellness center is located, meaning that they could keep their doors open and continue supporting the community. “After seeing business after business fail, I decided that I did not want to see that happen to these people,” Allerai says. “I had an ability to keep the truck going and also make the mortgage payments on the building. I was very grateful that this food truck is such a success.”
Bad Rooster has also become a partner to LFSC, often hosting food shelf and toy drive donation efforts. In addition, Bad Rooster donates funds to local food shelves and other local organizations. “Bad Rooster is a small business you want to support,” Brown says.