Although I won’t be there to kick off the inaugural Food Truck Friday (with any luck, I’ll be a few beers deep at ChurchKey by lunch tomorrow), you aren’t going to want to miss this fun new once-a-month event from the Houston Press.
Starting tomorrow, we’ll be hosting these Food Truck Fridays on the first Friday of each month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the House of Deréon (2204 Crawford). Every Food Truck Friday will feature a different roster of four food trucks — three savory and one sweet — and will be sponsored by Saint Arnold.
The lineup at tomorrow’s Food Truck Friday features an all-star roster of some of the city’s best food trucks: H-Town StrEATs, Bernie’s Burger Bus, Stick It and MMM Cupcake. Admission is free, but food from the trucks will be regular price. Plenty of outdoor seating space will be available, so bring your buddies and an appetite.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Just like any street side restaurant, Chris Dickerson’s Corner Taco serves downtown diners lunch quick and fresh.
And they have some prime real estate.
Traffic always flows at the corner of Main and Forsyth downtown.
“Two of us serve 100 people a day,” he said from his busy kitchen.
When the day is over, the Corner Taco picks up and becomes a part of that traffic.
“We move around, we’re somewhere new every day,” he said.
They’ve set up their food truck in an Airstream … well it’s “a 1965 Airstream.” Dickerson is quick to add the year.
It’s obvious he’s proud of his ride/restaurant.
“The Airstream has a soul and hopefully adds another dimension of what we’re trying to do,” he said.
Corner Taco was one of the first food trucks in Jacksonville.
RELATED: Jax Truckies Food Truck Championship
Now he says there are more than a dozen on corner lots and side streets all over town.
“When we started in January, there were only three,” he said.
“So it’s expanded quite a bit.”
Chris says the trend is to ditch the pretense and cut overhead.
It allows him to come to the people.
“We certainly have a pricing advantage because we don’t have the infrastructure.”
Lunches average less than $10 and are each made to order.
They have state-of-the-art equipment powered by propane tanks and generator.
Like the other trucks, they move daily.
“We really do work together. It’s like a tribal community.”
It’s a community that lives on social media.
They have no advertising.
Other than word of mouth, the only way to know where the trucks will pop up next is Facebook and Twitter.
“The thing you learn from history is that things change, you can either embrace it or reject it … We’re definitely going to try and ride the wave of social media.”
First Coast News
Chapel Hill welcomed its first food truck about two weeks ago, and more meals on wheels could soon be on the town’s streets if the Chapel Hill Town Council revises what some are calling a restrictive ordinance.
Baguettaboutit, which sells french-bread wrapped sausages, is the only food truck permitted to operate in Chapel Hill.
Its owner, Rob Gardner, said he had wanted to operate in the town since the council passed an ordinance in January allowing food trucks to operate in private lots.
After the council received only one permit application— from Baguettaboutit — since the ordinance was passed, councilman Lee Storrow asked the council to revise the ordinance to make it less restrictive.
“Under the current ordinance, it is clear we will have minimal participation from the trucks,” said Storrow.
It requires food truck owners to pay an annual $600 fee, as well as a $118 zoning compliance fee.
Storrow said many food truck owners have said the costs deter them from moving into Chapel Hill.
“They felt like we created a culture and a climate with the way we talked about the ordinance that we didn’t want them here,” he said.
“When you compare the costs, it just doesn’t make economic sense for entrepreneurs to apply for a permit from Chapel Hill.”
Gardner said he decided to purchase a Chapel Hill permit because his friends and family are here.
“I think everybody would prefer if it wasn’t as expensive,” said Gardner. “But we all live in Chapel Hill, so it’s crazy we couldn’t be there.”
Other food truck owners look forward to coming to Chapel Hill too.
Michael Beggen, one of the owners of the Triangle food cart Sweet Water Ices, said he is eager to bring his all-natural Italian ice to Chapel Hill.
The ordinance applies equally to food carts, he said.
“With the Triangle, we want to go to all three cities,” Beggen said. “We are hoping to go to Chapel Hill next year.”
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said he hopes food truck owners will participate in discussions about revising the ordinance this fall.
“Our rules are done out in the open,” he said.
But Kleinschmidt said other businesses have expressed concern about the competition food trucks could bring to Chapel Hill.
Storrow said he hopes the council will be able to balance the interests of food trucks and traditional restaurants.
“There is a real opportunity with food trucks,” he said. “We just need to find a new way for them to operate with our brick-and-mortar stores.”
On Thursday, Chapel Hill and WCHL are co-sponsoring the town’s first food truck rodeo in honor of WCHL’s new broadcast channel, 97.9 FM.
“This is the first one, and it’s big,” Lauren Stafford, marketing coordinator for WCHL, said.
Stafford said ten trucks, including Baguettaboutit, will be at the food truck rodeo, which will be held at the WCHL studio at the VilCom Center at 5:30 p.m.
Contact the desk editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Eddington of Food Truck Connection
We go to a lot of food parks. This one was special because of the high number of first-timers who came out.
Bedford Food Truck Festival (August 25)
BEDFORD What do you get when you invite five completely different food trucks, the Lone Star Camaro Club, and a DJ to a local strip center parking lot in Bedford for a free summer event? Apparently, you get a population hungry to find out what this burgeoning dining movement that involves eating audaciously good food served from a truck is all about! At least that’s what happened Saturday night at the Bedford Meadows Shopping Center when the first-ever food truck event in Bedford drew hundreds of eager and curious diners to the center.
Photo by Terry Eddington
The featured attraction was the trucks: Yes! Tacos, Crazyfish (sushi), Gepetto’s Pizza Truck, Good Karma Kitchen (vegan/vegetarian), and SlushWorks (frozen iced drinks). And what is totally awesome is that the idea started with Chris Leavell, Brad DeYoung, and Fred Hopkins — the owners of the Bedford Meadows Shopping Center — who recognized the draw that food trucks bring and how that exposure benefits all the tenants in the center. What a progressive position to recognize that food trucks and brick mortar establishments can work together for the benefit of both!
I go to a lot of events and pop-up food parks, but what really stood out tonight was the number of first-timers who came out. I overheard people from 6-60 who were having their first food truck experience.
Even Leavell, who helped put the event together, had never eaten at a food truck. And would you believe that he and his partners ate at every single truck?
Mayor Jim Story, who stopped by to support the event and see what it was all about, tried out the food. I even spotted him leaving with food to take home.
Leavell reports the event was to give back to the tenants and to bring more attention to the newly-renovated center. But just as importantly, the event was a success for everyone involved. The owners made a $1,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of the event. The Bedford Animal Shelter was invited to promote pet adoptions and seek support for their community work.
The trucks had a great night, with two of them selling completely out of food. Danny’s Celtic Pub was celebrating its grand opening, and the kitchen sold completely out of food. Anthony Resio, owner of Italian Sub Shop, says he thought it was a great success for everyone there.
Mr. Mayor, I believe the people of Bedford have spoken: Please listen to the people, support your local retailers, and invite the trucks back to Bedford!
The owners told me that they plan to bring the event back the last Saturday of each month. They’re already planning the changes needed to make it even better – tables in the center and more room between the trucks to accommodate the people.
You can find out more about upcoming events at Bedford Meadows at the Legacy Alliance website or you can check back at Food Truck Connection for an update for the next Bedford Food Truck Festival.
Pegasus News Content partner – Food Truck Connection
TULSA, OK - The regulars approach the gaping window of the truck-turned-traveling kitchen and order with confidence.
But the curious first-timers linger back a few feet, close enough to read the menu, yet far enough to avoid immediate contact. “I didn’t even know this was here,” they say, while looking at the food truck like it’s an alien space craft.
Yes, food trucks have landed in Tulsa. And there are signs of a growing invasion.
Tulsa’s first food truck festival rolls out in September.
Local restaurant veterans Lola Palazzo and Teri Fermo have joined the food truck phenomenon, dishing out their upscale offerings. Andolini’s Pizzeria will hit the streets with its truck in the fall.
Paella. Gourmet hot dogs. Bahn Mi. Oh, my.
“I think it’s easier to convince people to eat out at food trucks here than it used to be,” said Mitch Neely, owner of the Grub Truck and organizer of the upcoming festival. “My goal is to serve good food to people so it does not really matter if they are eating out of food truck or not.”
A city database shows 86 mobile food preparation trucks in Tulsa, according to Jeffrey Bollinger, licensing and revenue processing manger for the city.
About one-third of the trucks are mobile extensions of restaurants such as Billy Sims BBQ, Brownie’s hamburgers and Subway sandwiches, the database shows. The remainder are the more traditional free-roaming food trucks – a trend that started, in Tulsa, with taco vendors.
The Tulsa Health Department inspects the trucks, and the city licenses them and collects the revenue from the $145 annual fee that’s shared with the county, he said.
A 2011 task force tackled the legislative loose ends, including concerns about trucks that open regularly on private property. Their work resulted in Tulsa’s new food truck law published Nov. 21.
It was Tulsa’s first step toward becoming a food truck-friendly city.
Other cities – like Chicago – continue to try to find a balance with the established brick-and-mortar restaurants. The trucks can operate there, but chefs can’t cook and prepare food onboard.
Meanwhile, food trucks are flourishing in places like Austin, California and the Pacific northwest.
‘A rude awakening’
Country music filled the air around Teri Fermo’s purple custom-painted food truck, Jezebel, when Judy Driesel walked up to order. It was just after noon in downtown Tulsa, and Driesel was craving some of Fermo’s international cuisine with Latin, Asian and French influences.
“Normally I don’t eat at these places,” said Driesel, who works nearby. “But I come here at least once a week. I am excited. I wish she had a permanent place here. Her food is awesome.”
Fermo, owner of Bohemia, Movable Feast Caters, sharpened her chef skills at the Culinary Institute of America. Watching Fermo work with several cooktop burners blazing in Jezebel’s kitchen is like having a seat at the chef’s table in a trendy restaurant – without the seat.
“Every time I put on Motown, people flock,” Fermo said, adding that she also cooks to Latin music and “old-school jazz.”
Find the entire article by NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer at tulsaworld.com here
Greensboro, NC - Food-truck enthusiasts have certainly gotten the ball rolling in the Triad, and if anticipated attendance at the city’s first food-truck festival in September is any indication, it will be difficult to stop the momentum.
More than a month before the Spring Garden Food Truck Festival, scheduled for Sept. 23, about 750 people on Facebook have said they are attending. While anyone who’s ever organized an event online knows the numbers can be deceiving, if anything this event will probably draw a larger crowd throughout the day.
While the concept of food trucks is nothing new, Southern cities have been slow to catch on to the rising trend, Guilford County Environmental Health Director Tobin Shepherd noted while addressing the board of health Monday. After a request from board Director Justin Conrad, a former conservative candidate for state Senate and owner of Libby Hill seafood, Shepherd addressed the board to explain how food trucks are regulated and monitored from a health perspective.
Officially called “mobile food units,” Shepherd explained that food trucks must have a relationship with a permitted restaurant for things like potable water and solid waste disposal. Any food truck operating in the county would notify the health department and would be inspected regularly.
Conrad, who has expressed concerns that food trucks from other counties would operate locally and pay taxes elsewhere, asked Shepherd if there had been problems with food trucks in other parts of the state where many more already operate and raised several other questions, but Shepherd said there weren’t any problems and assured the board that they would be fully regulated.
Find the entire article by Eric Ginsburg at yesweekly.com here
By SANETTE TANAKA
College students heading back to campus may notice some culinary changes. As food trucks become more popular among the college set, some on-campus dining programs are fighting outside competition by launching their own mobile eateries.
Savanna Harvard, a senior at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, was a regular customer last spring at Brothers Street Eats, an independent Cajun-style food truck that had permission to park on campus. “It was a nice change from the dining-hall food I usually had,” Ms. Harvard says. “I liked the shrimp po’boy and gumbo the best.”
Then, in April the university ejected Brothers Street Eats from campus. In its place, the university will debut its own truck called La Lola Loca next month, offering foods like chipotle BBQ pulled pork and chicken tinga with pineapple.
Virginia Johnson, the university’s associate vice president for auxiliary services, says Brothers Street Eats was invited on campus only for a trial period to gauge student interest in food-truck dining. “Having a truck of our own gives us the flexibility to respond directly to our students, rather than working with off-campus vendors to address student requests,” says Ms. Johnson.
College officials say running their own food trucks brings in more revenue for the universities. They also can tailor menus to fit the student body. The University of Texas at Dallas plans to debut its first food truck this fall, featuring a fusion menu of Asian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines to reflect the school’s large number of international students, who make up 19% of the student body.
Aramark Corp. and Bon Appétit Management Co., two companies that manage food services for universities, say they have seen an increase in demand for college-run food trucks, especially as a way to offer late-night dining options and serve remote areas of campus. Aramark says it will add nine more university-run food trucks this fall, and Bon Appétit says it will add five.
In total, nearly 100 colleges have their own university-run food trucks, compared with only about a dozen five years ago, according to the National Association of College and University Food Services, which represents about 550 higher education institutions in the U.S. and Canada.
Many universities don’t allow outside food trucks to come onto campus. But some, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, grant limited access to select independent vendors. MIT, in Cambridge, Mass., doesn’t take a cut of the vendors’ revenue or profit, but charges a flat rate for the trucks to park.
Kaicheng Liang, a second-year graduate student in electrical engineering at MIT, eats at food trucks nearly every day. Some days he walks more than 25 minutes just to dine at the trucks. “Food on campus is so limited, so everyone goes to food trucks. You’ll see grad students lining up for an hour to get food,” he says.
Mr. Liang’s favorite is Momogoose, an Asian fusion truck, and he usually orders ga nuong, a Vietnamese dish with lemon-grass-infused grilled chicken. Timing is important for lunch, he says. “The latest I go is 12. At 12:30, it’s crazy busy. By 12:45, they can run out,” he says.
The University of Washington sidestepped competition by launching several of its own food trucks in 2010, early on in the food truck frenzy. About once a week, Thamar Theodore, a junior at the Seattle university, stops at the Hot Dawgs truck and treats herself to a “Seattle dawg,” a hot dog topped with cream cheese and grilled onions. The wait is long, but the food is worth it, she says.
“Even if it’s raining, I’ll see long lines. People will wait for those dogs,” Ms. Theodore says.
The University of Washington’s three food trucks—Hot Dawgs, Motosurf and Red Square BBQ—have exclusive access to the college clientele, though the university still gets requests for access from outside vendors. “People want to bring their falafel trucks, their taco trucks, their pie trucks, their ice creams—but we already have our trucks,” says Andrea Benson, general manager and head chef for the university’s food trucks.
Some universities that run their own food trucks allow students to pay for meals by swiping their dining-hall I.D. cards, but other colleges haven’t yet installed that technology. Even universities that allow independent food trucks on campus sometimes let them collect dining-hall dollars from students.
Laura Hall, of Durham, N.C., has owned and operated two on-campus eateries at Duke University. This year, she decided not to renew one of her contracts on campus and is instead launching her own food truck with the same name, Refectory on the Go, which will serve fare like oatmeal, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Although Ms. Hall won’t be parking the truck on campus, she still expects to draw large numbers of students heading to and from classes. And, she says, her food truck won’t have to pay fees to the university. “At the end of the day, I didn’t want to be under the dining services’ control,” Ms. Hall says.
Many students may not be aware whether their favorite food truck is run by the college dining program or by an outside vendor. At the University of California, Riverside, the Culinary Chameleon, a bright green food truck launched in January that regularly changes its menu, doesn’t advertise itself as college-run. “I don’t think most students realize that dining services is running the truck,” says David Henry, director of residential dining.
Jordon Warren, co-owner of Brothers Street Eats, says he tried to keep his customers after being kicked off the Alabama campus. “We would stay as close to campus as we could given the [Tuscaloosa city] regulations,” he says. “We couldn’t be on campus or within 120 feet of an existing restaurant’s front door.” Still, Brothers Street Eats, which was launched last year, recently shut down as sales dwindled.
“I loved the food at Brothers Street Eats,” says Ms. Harvard, the University of Alabama student. “I’d eat there about once a week on my way to class.” But loyalty only goes so far. “It doesn’t make a difference to me who owns the trucks. All I want is fast service and good food,” she says.
Jakarta is becoming better-known for both its wide variety of high-quality restaurants which have increased the possibilities for fine dining substantially and for its abundance of street food. Like many capitals in Southeast Asia, Jakarta has a range of eating options that reach these two extremes and those that span many levels in between.
While not a betting person, I would assert that for the average Indonesian the latter venue, the warung, or food stall, is more familiar than the five-star fine-dining restaurant. As a result, I also would assume that to assess the nation’s health, monitoring what can be bought in food stalls is more important than monitoring what five-star restaurants are producing.
Is it true that street-based food stalls produce cheap and cheerful food, or is it just cheap and nasty? Are we talking about available, nutritious and healthy food or convenient, nutrient-deficient and not more than cheap, stomach-filling food?
First, food safety is still a big issue, as some vendors look to make fast profit out of their fast food with scant regard for consumer safety.
It is not uncommon to hear of visits to local markets in Jakarta by officials from the Trade Ministry ending up with arrests of vendors for using chemical preservatives that are potentially hazardous to consumers’ health, with chemicals being added to staple foods such noodles, meat, tofu and a variety of drinks to increase their shelf life.
Some foods were found to contain chemical ingredients completely unfit for human consumption such as formalin, borax and rhodamine, a red dye more commonly used in textile coloring. When added to the unhygienic methods of handling food or cleaning utensils, it isn’t surprising that outbreaks of food poisoning are not uncommon.
While by far the majority of the vendors will not use such obviously cynical ways to make money, most do not consider the nutritional aspects of the food they sell and the potential long-term harm that comes as a result. Indonesia’s overall nutritional status is a growing concern. The State of the World’s Mothers Report 2012 revealed that 40 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunted growth because of severe malnutrition.
As well as undernourishment, Indonesia is beginning to face the opposite problem of obesity, especially in children. A survey released by the Health Ministry at the end of 2010 found that 14 percent of Indonesian children under the age of 5 were overweight. The same report found that another 9.2 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 12 were overweight. What role street food plays in these statistics is still unclear, but much of the food produced there is oily, sugar-laden, carbohydrate-filled or all three: filling, therefore, but not nutritious.
One reason given for why these foods are popular, despite having little nutritional value, is that they are accessible. A project run by US-based nongovernmental organization Mercy Corps in Jakarta found that while mothers learned a lot about nutrition, they continued to feed their babies and small children the same foods which contain high levels of sugar and fat, diets which lack the nutrients children need to grow, because the foods “walked by the door” and the children wanted them.
In recognition of these realities, the government of Indonesia has recently invested in outreach programs, including breastfeeding programs at local health centers that try to teach mothers about the value of nutrition for them and for their babies and about why going the extra mile to provide nutritious food is critical.
Despite the successes of many years of similar programs and policies encouraging good diet, why do so many children and adults continue to consume food that they know contains high levels of fat, salt and not enough vitamins and minerals? Nutritional knowledge is clearly not enough to solve these problems.
Somewhere between living with a tight belt and outright poverty is arguably a more sustainable cause of poor diet. Street food is undeniably cheaper than eating in restaurants. Eating street food can also often work out cheaper than shopping at the supermarket and cooking at home, and if you eat exactly the amount you buy from a street vendor there is no waste. Buying in supermarkets and even in local markets usually means buying a large amount at once, perhaps more than a family can afford or needs.
Furthermore, in the poorest of families access to a kitchen is also limited, so many simply turn to readily available street food for some or even all of their meals. A vicious cycle ensues: many of Jakarta’s poor children grow up without becoming accustomed to fresh food and parents don’t provide it, so street vendor food is all that the children know and crave.
So what can be done? It is likely to take a series of coordinated approaches to see sustainable improvement in the way impoverished families feed themselves. First, the government needs to take even stronger action against illegal street vendors and suppliers who currently provide food that is dangerous to our health. The ultimate goal is full licensing, though a gradual approach would be sensible.
Mercy Corps has already shown it is possible to raise the nutritional standards of street food and has even spun off a business selling niche street food with menus designed by nutritionists. How you encourage street vendors to sell more nutritious food knowing that buyers will buy sweet, fried or filling foods is a harder sell. Outreach programs that raise awareness of the benefits of nutritious food will encourage parents and children and alike to request better and more healthy food. Vendors may then sell it.
Good quality food is a basic and everyday need that seems to have taken a back seat in the country’s capital. With stronger support for these combined efforts at all levels, we may soon be experiencing our first five-star food stalls.
Maxine Carr is a researcher at Strategic Asia, a consultancy supporting economic collaboration between Asian countries. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
ROSWELL – Now that a part of Roswell’s Canton Street is being closed for the monthly Alive After 5 events, the crowds who flock to the wildly successful street festival might think it can’t get much better.
However, the fun will expand to Roswell Town Square this Thursday. For the first time in Roswell, five gourmet-quality food trucks will offer a wide variety of menus for a unique dining experience.
“Knowing the incredible excitement that has been generated around the food-truck explosion in our Atlanta metro area, I suggested that we focus on getting the food trucks to our square for a festival,” said Kelley Davis, the new event’s coordinator.
In Cobb, the cities of Kennesaw and Smyrna both feature food-truck events.
Davis said Roswell’s Park Square will be closed to traffic for the “food-truck party.”
“Greg Smith and Jessica Clark with the Atlanta Street Food Coalition have been integral partners in the planning for getting the first food truck event in Roswell. We will have King of Pops, WOW, Nana G’s, Happy Belly, Buen Provecho and Food Movement,” she said. The event will also feature arts and crafts vendors.
Ashley Harris, owner of Ragamuffin Music Hall at the corner of Atlanta and Mill Streets, volunteered her professional expertise and connections to provide a live music for the event.
The shops on Oak Street, collectively known as SoCa for “south of Canton,” are part of the Roswell Square Merchants Alliance and will be open for the event, as will shops and businesses on and around the Square.
The two trolleys that were shuttling visitors to Canton Street will be running more frequently to make it easy to hop aboard and enjoy the activities both uptown and downtown.
The trolleys will service all parking lots at City Hall, Mimosa Street, Bulloch Avenue, Roswell Methodist, Roswell Baptist and Roswell Presbyterian.
Alive at the Square is organized by the Roswell Square Merchants Alliance, founded last spring. It was formed to extend the city’s core shopping and dining experiences to include all of the businesses in the historic district, from SoCa south to the square and all the way down to the river along South Atlanta Street.
Davis and her mother, Anne Reddick, are not only business partners in the town square area but next-door neighbors there, as well.
“We are both residents of the Mill Village and we felt that the resurgence of businesses around the square was a good time to organize a Roswell Square Merchants Alliance to promote our Historic Downtown Roswell District like the Canton Street businesses have promoted the Roswell Uptown District,” Reddick said.
Alive After 5 and Alive at the Square will be held in Roswell every third Thursday through October from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
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