If you’re a New Jersey food-truck fancier, you probably know Five Sisters Food Co. Yes, it’s a food truck, but one that slings one of New Jersey’s most beloved and celebrated burgers. And indeed, five sisters are involved, and so are their parents, Libby and George Miller of Little Egg Harbor.
How did Five Sisters happen?
George: Our Five Sisters business evolved naturally. It’s not like we woke up one day and said, “Let’s start a family food truck!” Libby and I grew up in Perth Amboy. We were high school sweethearts. I became a Perth Amboy firefighter, and we moved to Little Egg Harbor in 2003. What happened was I hurt my back in 2011 and couldn’t work for a while. So I was home with Libby and our five daughters, who Libby, mostly, home-schooled through elementary school. Another thing about Libby—she was always cooking.
Libby: I love to cook. As a kid, I was always in the kitchen with my mom, and she could really cook. For me, my whole life, the kitchen is the heart of the home. In our own home, I continued to cook a lot, and our daughters joined me. We all love the togetherness and the feeling of accomplishment.
George: I’m a lucky man. I also cooked—I was the guy who made our food in the firehouse. Nothing fancy, mainly grilled stuff. But I knew my way around a grill and about cooking in big batches. Also, we’d gotten friendly with a fantastic local butcher.
Libby: George needed something to do when he was sidelined.
George: We came up with the concept of a catering business, and it took off that year. We did local events—parties, dinners, picnics—and our customers loved our food. It was home-style but just really great. From day one we refused to cut corners and used the best ingredients. Our butcher helped. We worked our hardest and aimed for really tasty, perfectly cooked food. Our first steady client was Laurita Winery in New Egypt, and we’ve continued to cater their luaus.
Libby: Then George went back to work.
George: I did. So we needed a Chapter Two. We wanted a food business that Libby and the girls could run without me there every day. Being a grill guy, and really into meats, I got interested in barbecue. Serious barbecue.
We bought a barbecue trailer in Georgia in 2013 and added all those dishes to our catering menu—ribs, brisket, chicken, everything. We specialized in pig roasts, which is perfect for events. A year later, we caught the Jersey food truck craze as it began. We bought a fry truck with lots of griddle space and an iron grill.
Libby: That truck was perfect for burgers.
George: Was it ever. We started out with a menu of 10 burgers. They were all unique. We had a lot of barbecue touches like…
Libby: …my bourbon barbecue sauce. Oh, that’s good.
George: And toppings like grilled pork belly or foie gras. The burger portion is a half-pound but it’s served in two quarter-pound patties, on brioche buns from Liscio’s Bakery in Glassboro. We do this because an eight-ounce burger takes too long to cook as your customer’s standing at your window. Twin burgers are a lot easier to eat, and are so good for sharing.
Libby: We also serve loaded fries, four to six varieties every day. The Pig Fries, which people love, are hickory-smoked pulled pork on top of thick-cut fries, plus our pig-roast sauce.
George: “Loaded” doesn’t do them justice. We offer fat sandwiches, too. Growing up, I loved the “grease burgers” and the “grease trucks” around Rutgers. So we have several “fat sandwiches” on the truck. “Fat Philly” is a cheesesteak piled high with fried chicken fingers, fried mozzarella sticks and fries, all on a hoagie roll.
Soon we were doing all the food-truck festivals. By 2018 we had three trucks, two for burgers and barbecue, and one dessert truck for our Japanese crepes. And we had, for a time, a burger spot on Long Beach Island.
Libby: It was too much. We felt overextended. Plus, having a fleet of trucks was separating our family. And our goal all along had been to own a true family business. In 2019 we went back to one truck.
George: One truck, one family. And we survived the pandemic that way—keeping our family and our customers safe and happy. Five Sisters continues to evolve. We travel all over New Jersey and sometimes to big festivals in Philly and Staten Island. We cater corporate events during the week. We watch and listen to our customers and always have new ideas. We test out a lot of dishes, especially during the food-truck festival lull from December through February.
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I’d love to meet the Five Sisters. Let’s hear from you in age order.
Ashley, 24: I heard us referred to as the First Family of Jersey Food Trucks. That made me so proud. I was around 12 when we got started, and I Iove doing what we do. That it’s a weekend thing is great. I’m a biology teacher at Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City. I can pitch in after school if I’m free. And I’m a photographer too. My business is Five Pines Photography, mainly weddings and destinations. But for me, when the truck is out and I’m in it, being with my sisters is everything. It’s so relaxing and so energizing at the same time. We work hard. We get everything done, we get it right, and we have so much fun. The love and pride on that truck is just amazing.
And our customers pick it up. Like when I was still in high school, this very old man came to the truck and ordered a burger. The guy came back at the end of the event to tell us, “This is the best burger I’ve had in my life, and I’m 90.” Getting awards is one thing, but hearing that was even better.
Hailey, 22: I remember that! We’ve been awarded Best Food Truck in America. Cooking just feels natural to me. And to be able to help my younger sisters learn is the best thing. I’m a psych major at Stockton University in Galloway…
Ashley: I went there too!
Hailey: …and the truck experience lets me see all different kinds of people and the ways they think and act. Everyone is so different. The truck just gives me a lot of insight into people. And we sisters have become even closer. Being on the truck reminds us all of the road-trip vacations my family was able to take all the time.
George: We did! Let me say, firefighters have very flexible schedules, and you can trade days off with your crew. And unlike with a restaurant, we could just close the truck.
Summer, 20: I’m a junior in education at Stockton. But I always make time for Five Sisters. The truck is a small space but the mood is so up. We’ve met so many people at the food-truck festivals. It’s like a community, a big weekend family. And we have amazing experiences when we cater. We get to hang backstage when we cater a performance crew. At a Wyclef Jean concert we checked out the tour bus and we were called onstage! I’ll never give up working with Five Sisters. When I become a teacher, I’ll have long summers off. I know where I’ll be.
Savannah, 17: I want everyone to know that our dad is called “the food-truck godfather.” I started working our truck during Covid. That was a bad time but working through it helped everyone. Being on the truck, dealing with people, always puts me in a great mood. I go to Pinelands Regional High School here in Little Egg Harbor. Down the road I want to go to police academy. Public service is one way to help people deal with this crazy, sometimes overwhelming world.
Piper, 13: I work on the truck when they need another pair of hands. I love it for a lot of reasons. One is that it lets me give back to my mom, who homeschooled me. Another reason is that I love working with people. Maybe I’ll have a career in restaurants or continue with Five Sisters.
George and Libby, what’s it like having five daughters?
George: It’s amazing and terrifying at the same time. I love how each daughter is so different from the next. Some are like Libby and some are more like me, then you look again and say, whose kid is this?
Libby: I grew up in a family of all boys; I had three brothers. I always wanted a sister and wondered how great it would be to have one. Now, I’ve been blessed to be a mom to five amazing girls. To be able to watch them all grow into incredibly kind young women. Also to be able to see their relationships with one another. They’re always looking out for their sisters, helping them, lifting each other up. It was not always easy having such a big family, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
How do people react when they find out you have five daughters?
George: People have always joked with me about having five girls, as though this is somehow less masculine, or implying that a boy would’ve been my first choice or my preference. The worst thing about this comment is that it has usually said in front of the girls, as if they were worth less than a boy. And the weird thing is that this has almost always said by a woman. I always felt that for her to even think this way, she must have self-worth issues.
I’ve always believed I’m so blessed to have five healthy and amazing daughters. They can, and did, do anything a boy could do, and actually most times did it better. We climbed mountains, rode dirt bikes, went surfing, did target practice, you name it, all things that I guess someone would do with their sons.
Is there a lot of female energy in the house and in the truck?
Libby: It’s really hard to describe what we have with so many women working and living together. Female energy is an eloquent way to describe it. We Miller women are all powerful in our own ways. Where one may be lacking, another will fill in without missing a step.
Our daughters are loving, gentle and kind, yet ferociously protective and supportive of one another. I guess the best way to put it is that they harmonize. Truthfully, it’s not always rainbows and sprinkles. There are days when a tsunami of feelings sweeps through the house, or an emotional tornado turns everything upside down. But there’s always that calm after the storm and we all come out OK.
George: There are days when the stars and the moon are out of sync, and that’s the time it’s actually crazy with so many women in one home. I still cannot figure them, out and I don’t try to. I’m cool with it. When it gets really nuts, I take my two boy dogs and jump in my truck to go for a drive, hoping the women don’t chase after me.
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