Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck food court: Popular truck owner wants to bring vendors together



Jax Food Truck Food Court









Andrew Thurlow
Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

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The owner of Happy Grilled Cheese — the popular food truck turned brick-and-mortar store— has rolled out plans to open a food truck food court, bringing together a mixture of vendors that would offer a variety of cuisines.

The food court location, at 3814 Beach Blvd., is a former bar/restaurant and drive-through liquor store. It will feature indoor and outdoor seating, air conditioning, bathrooms and free Wi-Fi, said owner Anthony Hashem.

A local artist will be designing the inside the building and restoring the old restaurant seating to give the place an old fashioned diner vibe.

“The location is really good. It’s about three minutes from San Marco and five minutes from downtown,” Hashem said. “It’s more centrally located than most restaurants.”

There will one or two attendants in the building, which will be open Monday through Friday from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.

The trucks, which Hashem plans on charging a small fee to park at the food court, will be positioned in a semi-circle around the building’s parking a lot, which will hold about 20 spaces with the trucks there.

Hashem, who is in the process of signing up trucks, said he wants the court to feature three to five food trucks selling meals as well as trucks offering dessert and coffee.

Andrew covers real estate, retail and sports




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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck trend continues to grow as profits roll in

EL PASO — A hungry motorist driving on the desert highway on the east side of this border city could suddenly come up on Jesus Ramos’ El Vaquero food truck, stop and enjoy an “elotes,” a corn concoction that has its origins in old Mexico.

“I have been in the food truck business for 30 years,” said Ramos, who specializes in serving the elotes, a mix of corn, butter, cheese and chile in a styrofoam cup. “I began in Mexico, and have only recently been in El Paso for three years. I sell 300 elotes a day at $3 to $5 each and to me it’s well worth the work of owning a food truck.”

Opening a mobile restaurant or food truck is not an easy task. Certain rules and regulations need to be met and money needs to be spent. Yet, while the process may prove to be difficult at times, it has proven to be a viable,booming industry.

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People sit and enjoy the burritos, tacos and carne asada that Los Carnalitos has to offer on Zaragoza,

With food trucks for every palette and diverse menus, customers enjoy the ability to eat out without having it cost them much. For some vendors the trucks are their only source of income, while for others it is done for the enjoyment of pleasing their customers.

There were 365 trucks feeding customers throughout the city In 2012. Food truck licenses here have increased by 125 since then. The trucks serve a varied cuisine that reflects the culture of the El Paso/Juarez region.

Recently, gourmet trucks have taken a parking spot next to the more traditional lunch and wagons that have long been the mainstay for shift workers. A sampling of trucks and menus read like an Iron Chef cook-off:

  • Stuffed – sells gourmet burgers topped with bacon, hot dogs, and an egg to seal the deal.
  • St. Cheddar’s – spices up the original grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and avocado.
  • Flaming Island Grill – serves authentic Chamorro BBQ from the island of Guam.
  • Frying on Wheels – offers up comfort food from Brazil, such as pastels and puddings.
  • Holy Cupcakes – features unique flavor concoctions like pineapple, s’mores and churros.

Being a food truck owner takes time, commitment and money. Before starting operation, vendors need to acquire a food handler’s card and permit that costs more than $300. Certain rules and regulations need to be met in regards to food preparation, equipment, establishment and location.

Food is not allowed to be prepared at the vendor’s place of residence and must be kept at certain temperatures. Equipment must be used and located in a way that does not cause food contamination. The establishment must follow certain regulations regarding lighting, permit displays and adequate ventilation.

Mobile trucks are allowed to park on any public street given that the area is not within 20 feet of an intersection, does not obstruct a pedestrian crosswalk and the area is not prohibited to the stopping, standing or parking of mobile food vendor vehicles.

Vendors say that once they cleared all the regulatory hurdles, they do make a good profit, although they would not say how much. When business is running slow, some said they rely on catering to pay their everyday living expenses. Others have regular 9-to-5 jobs as well.

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On a daily basis, many people wait in line for hot dogs from El Doggie.

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El Doggie features border-style hot dogs with cheese, beans, chile, mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise

Jerry Venegas works 8 to 5 at his regular job, then works from 6 p.m. until no more customers show up at his mobile food truck, El Doggie. Venegas parks his food at a strip mall at the corner of Edgemere and Rich Beem and serves every day except Sundays.

“It’s a lot of work but I love what I do, people love my hot dogs and that makes it all worth it,” Venegas said.

Legion Manufacturing, a maker of mobile food trucks touts the benefits of owning a mobile food truck compared to a brick and mortar restaurant on its website: a mobile food truck is a lower investment, has less operational costs, offers the ability to travel to customers or set up in busy locations to ensure success, property taxes are avoided and food trucks are easier to maintain and operate.

In 2009, the city of El Paso tried to implement an ordinance preventing food trucks from operating within 1,000 feet of a restaurant. The Institute for Justice fought against the City of El Paso on behalf of four mobile food vendors with a federal lawsuit, claiming the ordinance violated the vendors’ Constitutional right to earn a living free from “unreasonable and arbitrary government interference.” The city dropped the ordinance.

Now, on a daily basis you will see mobile truck food vendors on Zaragoza, downtown El Paso and the Horizon City area. There is also a group named The Food Truck Circus consisting of four or more gourmet food trucks traveling throughout the city.

Gabe Padila, better known as the ringmaster of the Food Truck Circus, said he created the coalition in late August because El Paso lacked food truck parks, which exist in other cities. Foodville, in Downtown El Paso is the only dedicated food truck court in El Paso thus far.

“Since we are mobile vendors, we are always shuffling around,” Padilla said. “For the most part, we are at the Discount Tire on Hondo Pass on Wednesday nights, Evolve FCU on Tierra Este and Edgemere on Thursday nights and EP Fitness on Saul Kleinfeld and Montwood on Friday nights.”

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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Four Seasons Food Truck to arrive in Miami from Boston



Four Seasons Food Truck

The Four Seasons Food Truck will make a final stop in Miami to complete its east coast tour.









Emon Reiser
Reporter- South Florida Business Journal

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The Four Seasons Food Truck, a food truck from the Canada-based Four Seasons Hotels Resorts brand, will travel more than 1,500 miles to serve its upscale modern street food in Miami between Nov. 6 and 11 to conclude its East Coast tour.

The truck began traveling from Boston on Sept. 15 and visited six Four Seasons hotels before arriving in Florida. The truck will depart from its previous stop in Palm Beach and make six stops in Miami-Dade County:

  • Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Florida International University Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 N.E. 151 Street, North Miami.
  • Nov. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Palmetto Bay Village Center, 18001 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay.
  • Nov. 8 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Wynwood Art Walk, N.W. 2 Ave. and N.W. 23 Street, Miami.
  • Nov. 9 from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at an event called Sunday Supper at Teena’s Pride, 20025 S.W. 270 Street, Homestead. It’s $85 for four courses, plus a processing fee. Tickets and additional information about the event can be found here.
  • Nov. 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at a closing party at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, 1435 Brickell Ave., Miami.

Executive Chef Aaron Brooks of EDGE Steak Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami designed a Latin-inspired menu to serve Miamians at the different stops. All of the options are under $10:

  • Benton ham cheddar croquetas
  • Crispy fried tostones
  • Creekstone farms skirt steak anticucho
  • Key West Pink shrimp roll
  • The Miami burger
  • The Aussie Cubano
  • Kale chop chop salad
  • Key lime curdsicle
  • Cream cheese flan

Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to the local charity, Kristi House, Inc., a child advocacy agency.

Emon Reiser covers retail, restaurants, tourism and hospitality. Get the latest retail news with our free daily newsletter. Click here to subscribe.




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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Holy Crepe: Student opens food truck business

Bullard junior Madeline Perkins is the owner of Holy Crepe, a new food truck in Waco centered on the French dish. The truck will be located off of Fifth Street following the homecoming parade.Courtesy Photo

Bullard junior Madeline Perkins is the owner of Holy Crepe, a new food truck in Waco centered on the French dish. The truck will be located off of Fifth Street following the homecoming parade.
Courtesy Photo

By Elly Spencer
Reporter

The Baylor community doesn’t have to travel to Paris to get an authentic crepe anymore. Baylor Bears can simply visit Bullard junior Madeline Perkins’ food truck, Holy Crepe.

Holy Crepe, Perkins’ creation, makes dozens of different crepes. Prices range from $4.95 to $6.50.

“I decided Waco needed a get-away,” Perkins said. “What’s a better way to do that than to bring a little taste of Paris here?”

Perkins said she got the idea to start her own business while on a study-abroad trip in Europe. The experiences she encountered, especially with food, inspired her to take a leap and start the process.

“I studied abroad all summer in Europe, and everyone always ate a crepe, and that’s where I really fell in love,” Perkins said. “I immediately started looking for a truck when I got back to America on Aug. 1.”

Perkins said the process of starting the business was difficult, but after calling dozens of prospects, she found her truck. The truck went through a special renovation to better hold the crepe equipment, and opened for business on Oct. 11.

Holy Crepe’s ingredients and flavors are chosen the night before any home football game, and Perkins gets “runners” to grab the ingredients she’s missing that customers demand. She said this is the best way to ensure customers get the product they want.

Pasadena junior Grace Tabuena, one of the runners, said the process and variety in crepes have received a large amount of positive feedback.

“It’s so great to see how people respond to how we are doing,” Tabuena said.

This week Holy Crepe will be located off of Fifth Street, immediately following the Homecoming Parade, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Tabuena said the truck can usually be found on game days, in the student tailgating area of McLane Stadium.

Students at the tailgate seem to have responded positively to the change of scenery crepes provide in a sea of hot dogs and hamburgers.

“It’s awesome to have a different option, and it’ll be even better to have a warm crepe when it’s cold outside,” Dayton senior Mary Fielder said.

Perkins is one in a rising trend of young entrepreneurs across the nation.

In 2011, Harvard Business Review statistics stated that entrepreneurship has almost doubled within the last 15 years. The review said 26 percent of all entrepreneurs in America average between the ages of 20-34.

Besides the idea of entrepreneurship and being a part of the backbone of the nation’s future, Perkins said she also wanted to use the food truck as a vessel to share her Christian beliefs to her customers.

“I know I have something really sweet in my hands,” Perkins said. “I have a way to make people smile and a way to share the love of Jesus Christ”

Holy Crepe’s workers and owner are hoping to expand the business within the near future.

“I hope to set up at the farmer’s market and just find more venues to sell at,” Perkins said.

Perkins’ advice to other students wishing to start a business is to be creative and go for it.

“Just try to make a difference,” Perkins said. “The opportunities are endless. You just have to pick the one that’s best for you.”

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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

H&8th food truck festival is tasty alternative to normal restaurants

The final H8th Night Market of the year will take place on Friday at the intersection of N. Hudson Avenue and NW 8th Street in midtown Oklahoma City. Fifty-one food trucks are scheduled to line up for the final incarnation of the festival in 2014. Things are set to kick off at 7 p.m., but if the September H8th was any indication, things will get going much earlier.

The big night

On the last Friday of September crowds of people meandered up and down Hudson street an hour and a half before the event was set to kick off, reading menus and chatting with vendors who were setting up their food trucks in preparation for the big night.

At Off The Hook Seafood More, Joyce Harris was arriving. Harris, who co-owns the seafood truck with her husband Cory, was running a little behind after picking up her kids from school.

She stopped at the cheese steak truck next door before making her way over. Off The Hook had a second window facing the neighboring truck, and Harris’ first task of the night was to ask if they would back up and give her truck some space.

“I don’t think they’re too happy about it,” Harris said. “But hey, we all got to be family. Got to work together.”

As the popularity of food trucks has grown in the Oklahoma City area, so has the sense of community that Harris mentioned.

“It’s like a fraternity,” said Glen Franklin, the owner of G’s Chili Company, about the interactions between owners in the budding industry. In September the Oklahoma Independent Food Truck Association held its first-ever meeting.

The food truck association will serve as a sort of food truck union to keep the trucks on the same page and protect them from business owners or event holders requesting a cut of their profits, Franklin said.

A growing business

Franklin’s chili is his passion. His food truck is the most recent vessel he’s used to share that passion with the public. It’s a family recipe that he once sold in grocery stores, but when the economy tanked in 2008, he was forced to stop. His daughters are the ones who convinced him to consider a truck after they attended one of the first H8th festivals.

“They came home and said, ‘Dad, you need to get a food truck,’” he said.

So Franklin did, and G’s Chili made its debut at the first H8th of 2014.

The event is now in its fourth year and has grown to draw around 30,000 people.

The constant hum of 48 mobile generators powering 48 mobile eateries combined with the music being pumped through some of the trucks’ speakers and the live performances taking place provided the soundtrack for the evening. The crowd thickened throughout the night. Long lines at the trucks created roadblocks that halted the flow of foot traffic every 40 feet.

Almost everybody walking around had some type of food in their hand, ranging from tacos to pizza to “All Natural Popsicles.”

The food truck scene in Oklahoma has exploded recently. Bleu Gartens, the first fixed food truck park in Oklahoma City, opened the night before the September H8th. As the festival’s season ends on Friday and the weather turns colder, Bleu Gartens will provide a location where folks can continue to get their food truck fix through the winter.

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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Triangle Restaurant News: Food truck opens brick-and-mortar location

A snickerdoodle cupcake from Sweet Traditions by LeAne. (Image from Sweet Traditions)

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— Another food truck has opened a brick-and-mortar location. Sweet Traditions by LeAne, which is known for its tasty cupcakes, has opened a location at 12516 Capital Blvd., in the Lowe’s Foods Shopping Center in Wake Forest. In addition to cupcakes, LeAne also makes some pretty tasty specialty cakes. The shop will be open Tuesday through Saturday. 

Southern Season in Chapel Hill has officially opened its “Vivian Howard” section. The shop within the shop will feature some of the Kinston chef and PBS star’s favorite artisan products, gadgets and kitchen staples. 

Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham unveiled its new truck via Facebook this week. No word on when or where it will be stopping, but we can’t wait! 

Durham is getting a new bar. The Atomic Fern is coming to 108 E. Parrish St., next to Monuts Donuts, Triangle Business Journal reports. The bar, which is hoping to open by mid-November, will serve wine, liquor and craft beer. Food will not be served.

Some sweet news in Durham: Daisy Cakes is opening a “Dessert Room,” Triangle Food Guy reports. It will be open Thursday-Saturday from 5-9 p.m. The room will offer a special menu that will also include dessert wine, champagne, tea and coffee. 

Locked and Loaded Bar Grill in Garner is moving down the road about a mile to 305 McCormick St., the former Texas Steakhouse building. According to their Facebook page, the last night in their current location on Highway 70 will be Saturday, Nov. 1, and they plan to open in the new location next week.

Holly Springs might be getting a Chili’s. Plans for a location at the Holly Springs Towne Center off of N.C. Highway 55 have been submitted, Triangle Business Journal reports. There is a Dec. 9 hearing on the proposed site plan. 

More Holly Springs news: The Mason Jar Tavern is expected to open in January in the former home of D’Andrea’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop and Grille in Holly Springs Towne Center, TBJ reports. Mason Jar is described as a locally owned restaurant serving American cuisine. 

T.MAC restaurant and sports bar has decided not to open a second location in Cary. Triangle Business Journal reports that the Atlanta-based chain has decided against opening in the Bradford retail center near the intersection of Davis Drive and High House Road. T.MAC recently opened its first Triangle location at Waverly Place in Cary.

Wakefield is getting a new bottle shop. D’s Bottle Shop and Craft Beer College is planning to open later this month at 13200 Falls of Neuse Road, according to the shop’s website. 

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Oct 31, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck co-owner sues New York state


A co-owner of the Wandering Dago, a Schenectady-based food truck, has filed a second lawsuit against New York state.

The suit claims that Andrea Loguidice, one of the food truck’s owners, was fired by the state Department of Environment of Conservation on false charges, according to a report by the Times Union.

This comes a year after Loguidice and her business partner filed a suit against the Office of General Services and the New York Racing Association, for not allowing them to serve food at the Empire State Plaza and the Saratoga Race Course. The food truck attracted a lot of attention last year after the business name was criticized by some as being offensive.

Read more from the Times Union:



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Oct 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Food truck with not-so-ordinary fare rolls up at Airport Flea Market

BROOKSVILLE — From pot roast and Philly cheesesteaks to empanadas and tamales, chef Amy Chavez has her spoon in two worlds.

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The native Long Islander, married to a Costa Rican, serves up from her food truck, the Lunch Box, a menu loaded with hearty and/or spicy fare gleaned from relatives on both sides.

That said, the 41-year-old Chavez acknowledges her own special gift.

“If I taste it, I can make it,” she said with a theatrical shrug. “Cooking’s my thing.”

The Lunch Box, a roomy kitchen on wheels, rolled up its awning in mid September in front of the Airport Flea Market at 17375 Spring Hill Drive. From the kitchen’s custom-built stainless-steel interior, from Wednesday through Sunday Chavez has been feeding hungry market visitors and vendors, workers from Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center, truckers and repeat customers from close-by neighborhoods.

Waving toward her swing-out menu board, Chavez pointed out, “Plenty of food you don’t expect at a flea market, sit-down or walk-away.”

It lists, among a couple of dozen choices, beef stew, a roasted quarter chicken, black beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, egg salad sandwich, sausage and peppers over biscuits and gravy, and stuffed cabbages.

“Everything in this trailer is made from scratch,” she declared. “All the vegetables are fresh, like carrots with their roots on.”

She buys vegetables from the flea market’s produce vendor.

“Two specialties every weekend,” the onetime caterer added, both to answer customer requests and to keep her own creative juices flowing. Samples: dark-meat chicken stew, an omelet station, meatball sliders and subs, and split pea soup “with meat in every bite.”

As for customer favorites, “What’s going crazy here are empanadas,” Chavez said. “Mine are full, an entire meal, with ground beef, potato, Spanish seasonings, or pulled chicken, minced potato, cilantro.”

“The secret is the dough,” she said.

Chavez grinds her own white corn into maize flour, adds water, and then stuffs and fries the filled pocket.

By the way, she minimizes the food truck standard of deep frying, employing that method only for wings, french fries and empanadas.

A hamburger from her food truck is no mere hamburger.

“It’s fresh; never frozen. A half-pound,” she said.

She grills them in a flippable wire basket so their juices aren’t pressed out. Chavez stuffs them, too: a cowboy burger holding cheddar and barbecue sauce, a Greek hiding feta and tzatziki sauce, a BLT with you-know-what.

Coming soon will be tamales, steamed in banana leaves, adding a floral note to the meat-and-veggie mix in a masa crust. Hers are three days in the making.

Her husband, Eduardo Chavez, is surprised at how his wife’s business is thriving after a mere six weeks, unusual in the restaurant trade. When she wanted part-time cooking work after the family’s move from New York to Spring Hill in January, he bought her a bare-bones former catering truck and outfitted it himself with an 80-inch stove top, hood, specialty cooking units, steam table and refrigerators.

Amy purchased her big-batch cooking pots and utensils from flea market vendors, noting the couple’s aim to buy local when possible.

Their daughter, 5-year-old Veronica, helps on weekends — “chops, does meatballs, knows all the clean-food rules,” said her mother.

Chavez recently hired a waitress-runner to free her up for more cooking, tasting and concocting of not-so-ordinary food truck fare.

“I’m here to stay,” she declared.

Contact Beth Gray at graybethn@earthlink.net.

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Oct 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Lucky Taco Food Truck Owners Have Big Plans For Newly Opened Restaurant …

Erin and Dave Emmons, owners of the popular Lucky Taco food truck, have gone from offering mobile dining to providing restaurant seating at their new business on Main Street in Manchester.

The couple purchased the former Brass Key restaurant at 729 Main St. in September and moved quickly to open the Lucky Taco Cantina and Tap Room three weeks later.

The Lucky Taco truck started traveling the streets of Hartford in 2011, winning instant popularity along the way and local awards for best food truck.

“We were popular right off the bat,” Erin Emmons said. “We had a good following immediately, and that helped us survive that first winter.”

The truck is currently on hiatus but will be up and running again once things become settled at the restaurant.

The Emmonses have lived in Manchester for three years. Erin Emmons, who is originally from Tolland, met her husband while the two were working at different restaurants in Austin, Texas. After spending some time working in New York City, the two moved to Connecticut after deciding to start a family.

Because of her local roots, Erin Emmons said Main Street in Manchester is the perfect location for their restaurant.

“I’ve been shopping on Main Street in Manchester since I was a little girl,” she said. “I used to go to Marlow’s. I bought my prom dress at East-West. I bought my wedding dress at East-West. We always wanted to open something here. It was our dream because we love Main Street.”

The Lucky Taco Cantina and Tap Room, which opened Oct. 15, initially served only breakfast and lunch but is scheduled to debut its dinner service Nov. 4. The restaurant also plans to to begin serving Saturday and Sunday brunch in November.

Erin Emmons said the restaurant’s tentative closing time will be 9 p.m. but that will be pushed to later into the evening when the restaurant receives its liquor license and opens its bar.

In the room next to the main dining area, the Emmons family has been working on a 16-foot bar that will provide customers with 20 tap handles pouring craft beer. The bar will also offer drinks using fresh juice, such as margaritas and sangria. The couple hopes to open the bar sometime in November.

Until then, the Emmonses said, the customers have their choice of Lucky Taco’s various tacos, burritos and other dishes, which will be made using fresh, homemade ingredients.

For more information or updates on the restaurant’s changing hours and the status of its bar, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page at facebook.com/LuckyTaco.

Copyright © 2014, Hartford Courant

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