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D Squared: Business of Good Food, Conversation

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Denzel Carter (left) and Glendoria Davis. (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)
By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times

When her 30-year-old nephew and business partner died of a heart attack in 2017, Glendoria Davis, of Springville, Ala., didn’t know whether to continue with a food truck the two had planned.

“Internally, I guess my spirit [told her to keep going] because every time I got ready to sell it or get rid of it I just couldn’t,” she said. “Something just kept telling me to keep it, hold on to it… I think the spirit within me wouldn’t let me release it and it wanted me to fulfill his dream and . . . [the] young people who had the same dream, that’s when I decided to go ahead.”

Davis, 58, opened D Squared Food & Catering Services in April and operates it with Denzel Carter, 28, and a third person for large events. The truck offers burgers, loaded fries, Philly cheesesteaks, chicken tenders, wings, salad, and more.

“A food truck is where most of the workers [on their lunch breaks] want to come in and get something quick, so we came up with…something quick but yet tasteful that would bring them back,” said Davis.

Carter considers himself a part of Davis’s family, calling himself her nephew.

“Me and T [his name for Davis] sit on this truck and talk about everything…you’ll see me and T on this truck talking and you’d think we’ve been knowing each other for years…that’s just the relationship we have and she gave me a great opportunity to get on this truck and do something I really like to do,” Carter said.

Davis said her late nephew, Marquez Dukes had dreamed of being a chef, and his vision was to start a food truck and allow people to get a taste for his cooking and then eventually open a restaurant. Davis said she is in process of making that a reality by opening an establishment in September in Springville, Ala. where she lives.

“It’s exciting I can almost see him looking down saying go Auntie because that was how he was, always striving to do better,” she said.

This isn’t Davis’s first rodeo, in addition to D Squared, she’s had a restaurant called the Boligee Café in Boligee, Ala. since 2008, which is still open. She also owns a trucking company called Davis and Sons.

The D Squared name comes from the four people in Davis’ family – her, her husband, and her two sons – D stands for Davis and squared is for the four members of their family.

More Than Serving Food

Glendoria Davis (left) and Denzel Carter. (Ameera Steward, The Birmingham Times)

The food truck allows her to do more than serve food, she said.

“It offers me an opportunity to help young people,” said Davis. “When I do this out here it’s for him [Carter] and my children because I’ve lived my life, I’ve done everything I wanted to do, been everywhere I wanted to go. I do it for the young people.”

Carter said he’s been able to grow under her and looks forward to “working with somebody that I built a good relationship with. I can talk to T about whatever if I have a problem…I really made a bond with T on this truck just in five months,” he said.

With a background in the restaurant business at places such as Pappadeaux; and Parish Seafood and Oyster House in Trussville, Carter was able to bring experience to D-Squared.

“I learned everything on my own, I never went to culinary arts school…everything I picked up I picked up by watching other chefs and being in the business so long,” he said.  “I had a good passion about cooking and being on a food truck was one of the things I wanted to do.”

When D-Squared opened in the spring, Carter had no idea that he would become a fulltime employee. He wanted to work there, but didn’t know it would happen so fast.

“I really got on the truck just to look at it, to check the truck out and they were just getting so busy…and I just went in there [and started working] and I been here ever since,” he said.

Carter said he likes to create something that will make people’s taste buds “go crazy. Something that’s delicious and it has flavor and it has color.”

“Everything we do we make sure it tastes good, we make sure the price is reasonable for everybody,” he said. “That’s the difference between being in a restaurant and being on a food truck, if I want to create something, I throw the idea to T [Davis],” she’ll tell him [Carter] to try it and they’ll put it on the menu.

Carter and Davis said the conversations with customers also are part of what they do.

“It feels like family,” said Davis, a minister at Greater Lily Star Baptist Church in Fairfield for the past 10 years. “I think when we can just let them talk….I think that’s the minister part in me…I say, ‘God why do you have me out here?’ and I really think that’s the answer because people are in need spiritually and emotionally all the time and if you could just, while their food is being prepared, give them an encouraging word, a friendly word, it helps them.”

D Squared operates from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Shell, 1100 Fourth Ave. North every day except on Sunday. On Thursdays and Sundays starting at 10:30 p.m. they are at Airport Lounge on 50th Street North.