TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A local woman’s “side hustle” food truck business featuring a sweet Greek delicacy will be featured at the NFL Super Bowl Experience.
Tammy Levent owns multiple businesses. When the coronavirus pandemic halted her travel agency and travel school in March of 2019, she began to figure out how she could continue and expand her food truck, a business also stunted by lack of events during shutdowns.
Levent and her husband own a business and food truck known as “Heavenly Puffs,” serving a historic Greek dessert known as “loukoumades,” (also known as a “Greek doughnut). which dates back to 766 B.C., where the puffs were served to winners in the Olympic Games.
“Well, we have a few companies. I own a travel agency and a travel school and we decided for a little part-time fun to have a food truck and work on the weekends and have events. Fast forward, everything halted. The travel halted, the travel school halted and all our events with the food truck halted,” Levent told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth.
Levent and her husband had to adapt to the ever-changing world during recent times.
“We were making them fresh,” she said. “So we decided to try to make them frozen for restaurant service and food service, and during that time in quarantine, every day for about a month, since I was sitting at home doing nothing, we invented how to make it frozen.”
Levent said she was making 500 to 700 Heavenly Puffs a day to practice to see if she could make them frozen.
Certainly enough, she discovered a magic recipe, and that discovery is aiding her in preparation for the Super Bowl Experience.
“I sure landed on it and it was awesome and wonderful and we now decided to go to food service, build the business and fast forward, we were growing. So we went to Delectables Catering, they’re in Palm Habor, and we partner with them, work out of their kitchen and they are the ones that have been around for 30 years in business and got into the Super Bowl. They applied for it and got the bid. Well they needed a food truck and they needed our puffs, and on the same token, we needed the exposure,” she said.
Heavenly Puffs production has been ramped up since Levent and her husband learned their food truck would be in business at the Super Bowl Experience, specifically at Julian B. Lane Park.
“What’s really crazy is, thank God, that I had this on my back pocket, knowing how to make these for the past couple of years, so now creating them frozen, only a few months since COVID, the minute we found out that we’re in the Super Bowl Experience and we have a week and they’re telling us 35,000 people a day, we cranked up production,” said Levent.
She said they have over 14,000 orders ready to go… and that’s six to eight puffs per order!
“That’s a lot of Heavenly Puffs that we will be doing,” Levent laughed.
Levent said there are not many food trucks like hers in the world. She told 8 On Your Side there may be one other truck serving loukoumades in the United States, as well as one in Canada. They are more common in Australia.
With family in Greece, loukoumades are in her background and she said they decided to name them Heavenly Puffs because they are “absolutely heavenly.”
“The most popular item is the original, which is, they’re little round balls, they’re really crispy on the outside, very light and airy on the inside, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon, see, they’re healthy for you! Honey, cinnamon, and that is our number one seller and the best one to try,” Levent explained.
In addition to the food truck, Heavenly Puffs are currently in restaurants in the Tampa Bay area, including Tarpon Springs, and all over the state.
They’re also going national, which happened very quickly.
“We’re in Chicago, we’re in New York, we’re in the Carolinas, we’re in California, Texas, small markets, Mediterranean markets and also in food service. So it’s very exciting,” Levent said.
The Super Bowl Experience will take place across multiple locations in the Tampa Bay area, beginning Friday, Jan. 29.