BHS Graduate Cody Thrasher Drives New Food Business in West Virginia

By Julie Perine on June 22, 2014 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Upon his 2005 Bridgeport High School graduation, Cody Thrasher looked ahead to a yet-to-be determined future. He had plenty of memories, including those made on Wayne Jamison Field – and afterwards when celebrating Indian victories. He was drawn to the restaurants, food, friends – the whole nine yards.
 
“Being in a restaurant on a busy night is nothing short of a chaotic symphony,” Thrasher said. “You see a full range of emotions of coworkers; the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, the overwhelming joys.”
 
Fast forward nine years and Thrasher has made the restaurant business his livelihood; well, a restaurant on wheels. He is owner and founder of Hash Browns & New Grounds – a business which places a fresh new spin on food truck offerings.
 
The menu features items such as chicken on a stick with strawberry honey glaze & pineapple; Jalapeno gnocchi mac & cheese with grilled pepperoni & panko – and BBQ spare rib sliders with mac & cheese sauce & green onions – all of those choices falling under the $4 mark.
 
Based on reviews of patrons in Morgantown – where HB&NG operates on a regular basis, the items rate high on taste and presentation. The self-taught chef places an artistic flare on his culinary creations. The beauty of it all is this:
 
The food has a dress code, the diners do not.
 
Thrasher uses fresh, local foods in preparing his dishes, always mixing in plenty of personality. His finished products are a form of art.
 
“My inspiration from my mother definitely shows through the food,” said Thrasher about his mother, local artist, Lotus MacDowell. “Knowing which colors complement one another and how to create dishes that are visually appealing is a direct result of being the son of an artist.”
 
Thrasher’s dad is H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher, owner of the engineering firm, The Thrasher Group. Cody Thrasher said both his parents have had a direct influence on the way he runs his business.
 
“They taught us from a young age that when you start something, your name is personally attached to it,” he said.  “Both of my parents worked towards establish a good reputation for their respective businesses. I hope to be the one to carry the preverbal torch next.”
 
Thrasher’s food service experience includes work at Twin Oaks and Oliverio’s Ristorante in Morgantown.
 
“Both of these families have a rich food history, especially in our area, and you'd be a fool not to learn the techniques that have been passed down through generations,” he said. “These culinary building blocks have been invaluable to me as a chef.”
 
Those early jobs combined with some self-taught abilities were the ideal basis for establishing his own food service business. In his nationwide travels, he encountered several food trucks and brought the idea back home.
 
“Why not bring it back to West Virginia?! The people here love new things and it was a great opportunity to be on the ground floor to kind of set the pace for street food in our area,” he said.
 
Thrasher feels he has been able to introduce people to a better understanding of great food.
 
“Sometimes food can come across as pretentious and it doesn't have to be that way,” he said. “I'm taking high-level fine dining techniques and creativity only to turn it into something that the average person walking down the street can enjoy.”
 
The food truck design is the work of graphic designer, Alex Haloszka. He said he is more than happy with the way it turned out. The ideas for food creations come from a variety of sources.
 
“I like to take things, shapes, colors and ideas that people would never expect and try to put them together,” he said.
 
Such is the case with a Jurassic Park themed menu item, featuring brined, fried and grilled whole turkey leg “giant drumsticks” combined with smoked whole eggs which resemble dinosaur eggs.
 
Thrasher said pleasing his clientele is of utmost importance and he’s glad to tweak a menu item to accommodate vegetarians and others with special food needs and tastes.
 
As Thrasher bases his menu items on the utilization of local, fresh ingredients, his business is ideal for the Bridgeport Farmers Market. He plans to make his debut Sunday, June 29.
 
“I can't wait to do the Bridgeport farmers market! It's a place I grew up,” he said. “I love to see that these things are happening - not to mention that it's great for small, local business. It's perfect for the community.”
 
Bridgeport Farmers Market President Debbie Workman said Hash Browns & New Grounds is a great fit for the market for a variety of reasons.
 
“(Cody) has been and will use local product on his menu and he plans to shop the market each market day and use what is available,” she said. “The market is always looking to support local and unique small businesses that fit into our overall mission. That is how we stay sustainable.  Plus food trucks are just fun!”
 
Hash Browns & New Grounds is on site at Campus Evolution Village in Morgantown 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The food truck can also be found Saturday mornings at the Greensboro, Pennsylvania Farmers Market.
 
Get more information here.
 


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