Chennai might not have a street food street, she may not peddle her smorgasbord on a single street or two, but if you have lived in this city for a long time, you’ll know that she offers a treasure at every street corner. You just need to know where to look.
DALLAS — Is Klyde Warren Park, with its huge crowds, playing favorites with food trucks?
News 8 has found the park almost never rotates in new trucks, leading some truck operators to complain that they’re locked out of the popular deck park and the potential for big profits.
Linh Quach, operator of the BobaFreeze truck, gets a brain freeze wondering why she can’t sell her natural fruit smoothies at Klyde Warren Park. She says her product is an alternative to sugary cupcakes and ice cream.
“I just think it’s really important to have a healthy initiative for the city, especially in the food truck industry,” said Quach.
Maybe, but the deck park says it’s not interested in bringing in new vendors because it’s got a good thing going.
News 8 has learned Klyde Warren Park collects 10 percent of the all revenue from the handful of trucks that serve its park patrons, and only one new truck has been allowed to park there in the last 18 months.
By comparison, the nearby ATT Performing Arts Center collects no fees from trucks and allows a large number to rotate through.
“It’s not that hard,” said Jeremy Scott, who runs Tutta’s Pizza. He is also locked out of Klyde Warren.
Scott says the 10 percent fee is fair because it covers the park’s cost of administering its food truck program. But excluding trucks that are qualified to handle large crowds is bad business, he says.
“I think that if we could get into Klyde Warren Park, it would be advantageous to our business, absolutely. Having a rotation of trucks in there would be valuable to the park as well,” Scott said.
Park personnel were not available for an on-camera interview Friday. Linh Quach hopes one day they will be available to let her sell smoothies at the park.
“We just kind of get the same story that everyone else is probably getting — that there’s a long waiting list,” Quach said.
A waiting list that feels, to her, more like a polite way of being frozen out.
As the city of Knoxville begins its one year pilot program for food trucks, other East TN towns have gotten a head start, and they are seeing results. 4-18-14
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local who regularly donates extra meals to those in need was rewarded when a homeless man reported a robbery at his food cart.
When a woman broke into Gharib Abb’s Elmasry food cart near SW 3rd Ave. and Washington St. early Friday morning, a man sleeping nearby called Abb at home.
“He comes here sometimes, I feed him, take care of him.”
“He was my hero this morning, I gave him a $20 reward,” he said.
“As soon as he found out someone had broken through the door, he sneaked out and called me.”
Police were able to arrest the woman, who had cut the lock on the food cart off and stolen the cash box, on her way out of the cart pod.
“She went straight to the outlet of my security camera and unplugged all of them,” he said.
Abb said Friday marks the first time his cart has been broken in to. Regardless, he said he will be installing a tougher lock, and taking the cash box home from now on.
The Street Food Season kickoff is one of the first large public gatherings in the Meridian Arts Entertainment District, the smaller of two downtown districts with relaxed open-container rules created last summer.
Other public street food gatherings are scheduled for the third Friday of May, June, July, August, September and October at parking lots in the Meridian and Quigley arts and entertainment districts.
doesn’t describe food trucks.
masterminds behind local food trucks Chez Yasmine and Schmear It convened last
night to discuss the challenges and rewards of serving healthy fast food.
The Healthy Food
Truck Panel was held in Huntsman Hall and drew in nearly 75 students. College and Wharton junior Robert Hsu and Wharton sophomore Jessica Chen organized the panel as part of the Healthy Food Truck Initiative, an organization that they co-founded. The two
food trucks, along with Magic Carpet, have been working with Philadelphia
Healthy Food Initiative to offer and advertise healthier options since fall.
Over the past
year, HFT has fostered relationships with Chez Yasmine’s owner Jihed Chehimi and Schmear
It’s owner Dave Fine, a 2011 College graduate. HFT does not
have specific criteria for the food trucks that they partner with, but
according to Chen, “We do all the reaching out. We have an idea of which food trucks are healthy.”
opened Chez Yasmine, he worked in a research lab and enjoyed lunch from food
trucks for 20 years. His
familiarity with food trucks inspired him to take a different approach.
and different. I didn’t want to
sell hot dogs,” Chehimi said.
Chehimi offers a
Swedish Berry Salad, which earns its finishing flair from fresh mint and rose
water. He also serves quinoa, a
grain that is “the best you can eat in terms of health.”
and Sweetgreen became successful on Penn’s campus, Schmear It’s Fine noticed that people
were willing to pay more for quality food. Fine saw that a niche for
Schmear It and envisioned it as part of Penn’s array of food trucks. However, both Chehimi and Fine admit
that the biggest challenge is balancing cost with fresh, healthy
“I think when
you’re trying to offer healthy options, they are more expensive. Sometimes they are reflected in the
prices, but [the customers] recognize it as a special offering they can’t get
elsewhere,” Fine said.
offers vegan cream cheese, a “veggie delight schmear” and Greek yogurt cream
cheese, but the cream cheese is not the only ingredient that can get a healthy makeover. Customers can request that bagels be
scooped out — having the bulk of the dough removed to reduce calories while maintaining
the shell, as well as the idea, of eating a bagel.
Fine said that the option to scoop out a bagel is
“polarizing, like to toast or not to toast.”
The Healthy Food Truck Initiative, which is Penn-affiliated through Campus Health Initiatives, was launched by Hsu and Chen last March. The panel was the first campus event for HFT, which collaborated with MUSE and Phi Gamma Nu and received funding from the Social Impact Advisory Board of Wharton Social Impact Initiative. The event was to feature Magic Carpet as well, but the owner was unable to attend.
According to Ashlee Halbritter, Health Educator of Campus Health Initiatives, Hsu was volunteering with Campus Health when he developed the idea to improve eating habits by targeting local food trucks.
“Robert really took an idea to an actual thing. He started out doing surveys on his own and figuring out how often Penn students eat at food trucks,” Halbritter said.
Hsu then presented data to the truck owners. Respondents’ top three suggestions for healthy eating at food trucks were healthier meals and options, displayed nutritional information and cleanliness. Three-quarters of survey respondents stated that they would perceive a food truck more favorably if nutritional information was posted.
ST. PETERSBURG — The city is moving forward with changes to make it easier for food trucks to operate downtown.
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The issue began more than two years ago as mobile kitchens like Maggie Loflin’s began popping up in St. Petersburg, part of a larger trend that’s already saturated much of the rest of the nation.
While other cities have welcomed the trucks, (there are rallies in Tampa regularly), the approach here has been more conservative.
The trucks aren’t allowed on public streets downtown. And if a truck wants to sell to the public on private property, they must get a $40 temporary use permit each time, said Loflin, a veteran food trucker who operates Maggie on the Move.
The new regulations were presented to food truck operators, promoters and restaurant representatives Friday during a workshop at City Hall. They would allow for street parking in limited areas of downtown, establish an annual permit for operations conducted on private property and allow food truck rallies under certain conditions.
Anticipation couldn’t be higher.
“We just need to get something set,” Loflin said. “We need more than our seven trucks in St. Pete to build the scene.”
Under the new regulations, the trucks still would be excluded from public street parking in the downtown core, but could potentially park in limited areas near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Arlington Avenue. They would need to get a peddler’s license, required for all street vending.
The new rules also would eliminate the need for trucks to get permits several times a year by creating an annual permit. It’s unclear how much that would cost. Trucks would have limits on the number of days they could park at one spot, a provision that did not please some operators Friday.
City planner Derek Kilborn said officials are seeking a balance between the needs of a burgeoning industry and existing restaurants. There could be options for revision later, he said.
“We hope by doing it this way we can secure the approval you guys are looking for,” he said.
Loflin, a founding board member of the Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association, has found a way to navigate existing rules.
She often sets up near Bayfront Health and All Children’s, just outside the downtown boundary, or goes elsewhere around town.
“We just go and park for a couple hours, feed people and go along our way,” she said.
Still, she said, the food truck scene here won’t grow if changes aren’t made. Many of the ideas in the draft ordinance have been talked about for months, or years.
Ironically, the lag may have worked in operators’ favor, Loflin said.
The trucks are becoming more visible around town, especially near breweries and establishments that don’t serve food.
“I’ve seen how things have really softened,” Loflin said, “People just see us differently than they did two years ago.”
Kameel Stanley can be reached at email@example.com, (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.
HOUSTON — You dream it, they make it! Custom Confections has been crafting over-the-top desserts from their food trailer for over three years, and they already know the sweet taste of victory.
Husband-wife team Kimberley and Tony Revis have taken home awards from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the World Food Championship in Las Vegas.
“They’re not afraid to try anything and that’s what makes them unique,” raved customer Amanda Brady.
They are known for such items as their “Cake-dae” (a sundae-cupcake hybrid), “Frosty Bite” (a cupcake stuffed with ice cream), and fried bananas foster.
Kimberley says their creations are always fresh because, unlike many other trucks, they bake everything in their on-board oven.
“So not only were they baked today, but they were probably baked within the last hour,” she explained.
Tough-guy Tony, who mans the fryer, gave up his steel working job for his soft-spot for sweets and his sweetheart. The couple said they don’t mind working in close quarters.
If we have a disagreement that morning and we’re on the truck, it’s OK, ‘cause my husband is in his happy place … and I’m in my happy place,” Kimberley said.
Together they have found the perfect recipe for sweet food truck success.
If Denton’s too far of a drive, check out the Uptown Truck Stop which opened last month in uh, Uptown. Situated next to the swanky Sisu Uptown Resort, this park’s roster of frequent guests includes Easy Slider, Salsa Limon, Nammi, Ruthie’s, SSahm BBQ and the Yim Yam truck. Access to Sisu’s bar for $4 beers and margaritas makes it a sensible spot for lunch or late-night (scope out the Facebook page for schedules).
Of course, these two recent additions have plenty of more established competition in the Metroplex. Lower Greenville’s Truck Yard is a particularly stiff contender boasting not one but three bars and those mighty fine cheesesteaks that have made it a destination in and of itself. On a typical weekend, the Yard will play host to trucks like Easy Slider, Oink Moo BBQ, Pompeii and Tutta’s.
Head west and you’ll find the Fort Worth Food Park, with regular appearances from Bombay ChopStix, Cajun Tailgators, Eat Jo Dawgs, Holy Frijole, Life is Sweet, Po Boys Rich Girls and many more. The park features a cantina with a few craft beers on tap, plenty of canned selections and a surprisingly deep wine list.
Fort Worth’s other contender is Clearfork Food Park, right on the edge of the Trinity River. It boasts a covered dining area, a full bar and mainstays like the Good Karma Kitchen, The Butcher’s Son, The Smoke Wagon and Top Nosh. Now that warm weather and sunshine are (hopefully?) here to stay, any of the above would make an excellent place to while away the weekend with a few cold ones.
· Austin St. Truck Stop [Facebook]
· Uptown Truck Stop [Facebook]
· Truck Yard [Official]
· Fort Worth Food Park [Official]
· Clear Fork Food Park [Official]
· More food truck coverage on Eater Dallas [-EDFW-]
Reporter- Birmingham Business Journal
The Tillman Levenson Annex was purchased and renovated last year to be a commissary and kitchen space for the Fresh Off the Bun food truck.
Brad Wardlaw, principal at SAS Architects helped to purchase the building for his wife, who owns the Birmingham food truck business.
In May, Wardlaw hopes to close on the property next to the 8,800 square-foot building in order to create a “food incubator” for food startups in the city. It’s address is 1215 Second Ave. N.
“It falls in line with what they’re doing down the street at Innovation Depot,” Wardlaw said.
The new property will be 14,000 square feet which can be sectioned off into a number of different business ventures.
Wardlaw says it will be perfect for students just coming out of culinary school to hone their craft in the food incubator.
“We may not be as sophisticated as the biotech industry, but I think it will impact Birmingham just as well,” he said.
There will also be a common area for events, parties and food tasting events.
REV Birmingham has worked closely with Wardlaw in securing a loan for the new property.
Working through the Urban Food Initiative, Wardlaw hopes to host food classes within the incubator to educate potential food service businesses on regulations and food safety.
With downtown set for more revitalization and the coming of Alagasco’s new metro operations center, Wardlaw believes the demand for downtown food service will only rise in the near and distant future.
Bryan Davis covers real estate, retail and manufacturing for the Birmingham Business Journal. Click here to follow him on Twitter.
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