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Taking innovative chicken sandwiches from a food truck to a brick and mortar restaurant

Iowa men turn their dream into a reality faster than they thought possible.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Two Iowa entrepreneurs are meeting their business goals faster than they ever expected. 

Charlotte's Kitchen started on the food truck scene around Des Moines in 2019, and now it's moving into a brick and mortar restaurant space in Johnston. 

Founders Michael Hanstad and Robert Doan are 2014 Johnston High School graduates and long-time friends. The idea for the food truck came when Hanstad wanted to take a simple idea and make it great. 

"One day I was like, 'Robert, I have this idea for a food truck and chicken sandwiches. Will you join me? Like, will you come aboard and let's crank this out. Like, let's do this.' And it was just right time right place then because I was looking for something new," Hanstad said. "We spent a whole summer just grinding it out doing small town farmers markets, you know, office parks all across Des Moines just trying to get our name out building our brand."

"And we had great luck that this past summer."

With the success of these specialty chicken sandwiches, and just nine months on the food truck scene, an opportunity for growth presented itself.  

An old Dairy Queen building became available, and they knew it was time to bring the business back home, where it all started.

"We have so many people here that you know care about us and are going to be supporting us," Doan said. "We're really excited about that."

Charlotte's Kitchen will open Feb. 3 as a drive-thru to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. They hope to be able to offer dine-in service in March. 

You can find Charlotte's Kitchen at 6150 Merle Hay Road in Johnston.

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