American diner Zaks brings back burger caravan – but with a difference

Chris Carr and Ian Hacon are rekindling the idea of a mobile caravan to sell Zaks' burgers. Pic: ED{

Chris Carr and Ian Hacon are rekindling the idea of a mobile caravan to sell Zaks' burgers. Pic: ED{ - Credit: Archant

Bosses of the Norfolk diner chain Zaks are launching not one but two mobile caravans and a new pop-up ‘restaurant.’

The massive queue for a burger at the replica Zaks burger van, as Zaks celebrates it's 40th annivers

The massive queue for a burger at the replica Zaks burger van, as Zaks celebrates it's 40th anniversary outside the Forum. Zaks is bringing back a mobile caravan but will have socially distanced measures in place. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Zaks, which currently has diners in Mousehold Heath and Barrack Street, Norwich and also Poringland, was renowned when it first started for its mobile caravan. The striking red converted caravan used to park up in Farmers Avenue to sell foil wrapped burgers but went out of use.

But now, in Covid times making eating in restaurants tricky, bosses Ian Hacon and Chris Carr have revealed they are launching two mobile caravans and a pop-up diner capable of seating 30-40 people. All three ventures will be selling the renowned chargrilled burgers wrapped in foil again.

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The original Zaks caravan, parked in Farmers Avenue, selling foil wrapped burgers. Pic: EDP library

The original Zaks caravan, parked in Farmers Avenue, selling foil wrapped burgers. Pic: EDP library - Credit: Archant

Mr Hacon told this newspaper the ventures wouldn’t be starting until the spring. One of the caravans is going to be made to look like the original one, which no longer exists. This is a former Lakenham Creamery caravan which has been bought, partially converted and painted red.

Another will be created from a new Chevrolet van with a rounded roof, more like an Airstream trailer, and then the pair will also be running a pop-up, converting an old shipping container. All three mobile units will literally appear in different places such as car parks as well as be available for weddings and other private events.


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The units are being paid for thanks to a New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership Covid grant scheme – which has given Zaks £41,000.

Sue Allen, who started working with Zaks in 1978, with one of their burgers at the replica Zaks burg

Sue Allen, who started working with Zaks in 1978, with one of their burgers at the replica Zaks burger van outside the Forum for it's 40th anniversary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Mr Hacon said: “It has enabled us to think much bigger and deliver something which is even better and much more flexible. If we find a suitable pitch, we can pop up there for more than a few days. This will also help assure the employment of our team and lead to the recruitment of further team members as we come out of restrictions.

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“We can go to shows, weddings, birthdays – all those private events. It gives us the ability to go viral, so we can pop up in car parks around Norfolk and Norfolk and promote on social.” They also plan to sell Zaks branded merchandise from the caravans such as hoodies and baseball caps.

Glen Moore, New Anglia Growth Hub adviser, said: “Zaks has been part of Norfolk life for more than 40 years and many of life’s celebrations have been held in its distinctive restaurants. This project will play a critical part in enabling its success story to continue, despite the Covid lockdowns.”

The original mobile caravan. Pic: Zaks

The original mobile caravan. Pic: Zaks - Credit: Archant

Zaks is bringing back its mobile caravan. Pic: supplied

Zaks is bringing back its mobile caravan. Pic: supplied - Credit: Archant

Zaks diner in Barrack Street, Norwich. Pic: EDP

Zaks diner in Barrack Street, Norwich. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr are bringing back the Zaks caravan. Pic: EDP

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr are bringing back the Zaks caravan. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

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