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.
ELYRIA — A chef on wheels rolls to a location and serves food from a mobile kitchen.
The food truck craze has hit Elyria.
For the second Thursday this month, Todd Berry set up in downtown Elyria with his Krav food truck to serve up one of five signature dishes to an eager lunch crowd. On this particular day, a spot near Elyria City Hall was the locale of choice. The menu consisted of a popular Korean barbeque pork loin with a kimchi Asian slaw and smashed avocados.
The prepared-fresh meal stood up well against the others — a Philly cheese steak, lamb or chicken gyro, veggie pita and grilled barbeque chicken thighs.
“It’s a good menu of flavorful food that we can prepare right here on the truck,” Berry said in between quickly assembling meals for a growing crowd of customers. “We have to do everything on the truck, prep and cook on the truck.”
Brick and mortar restaurants don’t have the luxury of picking up and relocating to where the business is best — Berry works in Lorain, Avon, Avon Lake and Vermilion.
Watching customers line the street a stone’s throw from where she has served food for years was a hard pill to swallow for Donna Dove, owner of Donna’s Diner.
“I don’t know why they would do that when we are having a hard time as it is,” she said. “If they were to move in every day, it would be one thing. It would be a constant draw to downtown that helps everyone. But once a week just brings people in, takes their money and then they leave.”
Dove said there was a noticeable difference in her Thursday sales, especially lunch deliveries. But instead of protesting, she said she plans to fight back.
“If they want to park their truck, then I will get my grill out,” she said. “Once people have my $5 roast beef sandwich with peppers and onions, they will want to know why they have never had it before.”
Berry, who operates the food truck with his partner, Kathy Swearingen, said he never wants to be seen as competition for established restaurants.
“We try not to step on anyone’s toes,” Berry said. “We give people an alternative. We bring something different into an area.”
Elyria may be a little late to the food truck trend, but the mobile eateries are so commonplace in larger urban areas that entire events are designed with the idea of numerous food trucks parking nearby.
In just a few weeks, Walnut Wednesday will return to downtown Cleveland. Sponsored by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the lunch-time event is all about live music from local bands and delicious food from numerous food trucks.
Maybe, Thursdays in Ely Square — when the Summer Concert Series kicks off weekly musical acts — could be that event for Elyria.
“They have a permit to be here all summer, one day a week,” said Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka.
Siwierka and Mayor Holly Brinda let the aroma of the food truck bring them to Court Street for lunch. Both walked away with veggie pitas for $7 each.
Brinda said local restaurants shouldn’t feel threatened by the food truck.
“I think it will help with what is already here,” she said. “It’s one day a week and for special evening and weekend events when other places are not open. We want to be able to provide food options for residents during those times when they are downtown enjoying events.”
Just as every restaurant has a story of its birth, the Krav food truck has a story as well.
Berry, of Avon Lake, said the idea was born out of corporate boredom. He got tired of being stuck inside all day, came home and told Swearingen he wanted to open up a food truck.
“I said yes. I didn’t even hesitate,” she said.
The truck, decorated with a scene from the French Riviera, was driven up from Fort Lauderdale. The couple is in their third season.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.
Tonight – April 18- is food truck night in the Burg. The Harrisburg Food Truck Feast will kick off its season 5-9 p.m. during 3rd in the Burg.
About half a dozen mobile vendors will be parked at 1601 N. Third St. with live music from The Groove featuring Marissa Elise.
So bring your lawn chairs and your appetites. If you miss this one, the Food Truck Feast will take place every third Friday of the month through October.
Here’s what you’ll find:
Up in Smoke BBQ: Marc and Alanna McMullan recently set up a stand at the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg but continue their mobile food operations. Menu covers barbecue chicken, pulled pork and sausage.
MAD Sandwiches: This popular blue food truck often seen parked in Harrisburg specializes in Cuban sandwiches, cheese steaks, tacos and empanadas.
Baron Von Schwein: This truck is rolling in from Lancaster with ihts pork buns, pulled pork sandwiches and baked corn.
The Chicken Truck: This Harrisburg-based food truck dishes out all things chicken from fried chicken to grilled chicken as well as deep fried Oreos, pickles and mushrooms.
Bountiful Feast: Based in Lititz, Lancaster County, this food truck doles out chicken/pineapple kabobs, chicken tortilla wraps and rice boats with grilled chicken.
Forno Inferno: Wood-fired pizza, everything from pesto to Philly to Hawaiian style and Margherita.
Grills Goin’ Wild: Another Lancaster County based truck. This one serves burgers and hot dogs as well as creative sandwiches such as The Voo Doo Chicken along with Wild Fries, various fry combinations with meats, seasonings and cheeses.
Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) – Food Truck fans get excited! Tonight will kick off the city’s first ever food truck season.
This event is organized by Downtown Huntsville, Inc.
Up to 15 food trucks will gather the third Friday of every month until October. The event will meet in different parking lots throughout downtown. There will be live music and other surprises.
Tonight’s event is set to take place from 6-9 p.m at A.M. Booth’s Lumberyard, 108 Cleveland Ave.
The event is free to attend.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Hurrah – it’s a Bank Holiday weekend. Which can either mean:
a) Spending lots of time on the motorway
b) Spending lots of time at the garden centre/DIY store
c) Spending lots of time eating and drinking
We sincerely hope your plans fall into camp ‘c’, in which case, we’ve got just the thing. Head down to Queen’s Walk on the South Bank (the bit next to the river, either side of Hungerford Bridge), where you’ll find the World Street Food Festival – a one-off Bank Holiday street food market from the ‘Real Food’ folk. The current line-up of global flavours include dishes from Cheeky Italian, Donostia Social Club, Dosa Deli, The Frenchie, Jamon Jamon, Korrito, Mama’s Jerk Station, the Polish Deli and lots more. There’ll also be a central seating and bar area with craft beer, wine and cocktails, plus live music. It’s free to attend – just pay for what you eat (or drink). And don’t attempt any DIY after a few drinks. Tania Ballantine
April 18-21, Queens Walk, South Bank. Find the full line-up at realfoodfestival.co.uk.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Macy Chapman, the Director of Communications and Branding for Downtown Huntsville, Inc., stopped by our studio to talk about two exciting events coming to downtown Huntsville.
Street food season kicks off April 18 an AM Booth Lumberyard from 6 – 9 p.m. There will be lots of food and fun with food trucks and live music. The event if free for all to attend.
Sixteen food trucks will set up in the parking lot and inside the downtown venue, where there will also be live music, including Rocket City Jazz Orchestra, Big Spring Jazz Band and Rocket City Latin Band.
Here’s a list of vendors and menus:
Badd Newz BBQ - Pulled Pork Sandwich ($5), Smoked Pulled Turkey Sandwiches ($5), Hamburgers ($4), Cheeseburgers ($4).
Bigfoot’s Little Donuts - Four types of made-to-order mini-cake donuts): Cinnamon Sugar ($3 per dozen), Honey Graham Cracker ($3 per dozen), Powdered Sugar ($3 per dozen), a to-be-determined Gourmet Option ($3 per half-dozen):
Brain Freeze Mobile IceCream- Variety of Blue Bunny brand products including Ice Cream Sandwiches, Whole Fruit Bars, Big Dippers ($1.50 – $3.00).
Crave Heat- Molé Tacos ($8 for two), Carne Asada Fries ($6), Fish Tacos ($7 for 2), Chicken Burrito ($8).
Dallas Mill Deli- Chicken Salad Sandwich ($5.25), Hamburger ($5), Club Sandwich ($6.50), Strawberry Pretzel Salad ($3.75).
Earth and Stone- Event Specialty Pizza, BBQuelicious ($6 for half of 10-inch pizza), Greene Street Pizza with mozzarella provolone blend, fresh baby spinach, baby Portobella mushrooms, red onion, red bell pepper, Kalamata olives ($6 for half of 10-inch pizza), Smoked Pork Loin Sliders ($8 for two sliders and one side), Veggie Lover’s Tortilla Melt ($8 with side of hummus), BBQ Nachos ($8)
Food Fighters Bustaurant- Smoked Brisket Tacos ($7 for two), Big Country Loaded Brisket Fries with barbecue brisket, brown gravy, cheddar cheese ($7).
I Love Bacon- Grilled Bacon Mac, a sandwich on sourdough filled with mac-and-cheese, bacon and cheddar ($7.99), The Elvis, grilled bacon, banana, and peanut butter on sourdough ($6.99), Major Lazer, lettuce wraps with coconut rice, black beans, Jamaican jerk-marinated and double smoked bacon, cilantro and pineapple sauce ($7.25). Pork Belly Cantina Tacos with braised pork belly, cilantro, fresh citrus slaw and sriracha sour cream ($8.49).
Neon Lilly- Siberian Pelmeni Plate, dumplings stuffed with ground pork and beef, with spicy sauce, fresh herbs ($7.75), Polish Golabki Plate, cabbage rolls abundantly stuffed with ground turkey and beef and rice, with tomato sauce ($6.50), Kielbasa, house-made pork sausage on a hoagie with choice of three toppings, two sauces ($6.75).
On-On Tacos- Your choice of smoked chicken, pulled pork, chili butter shrimp, or house made chorizoon Tacos ($7 for two) and Nachos ($7).
Peppered Pig- Chicken Wings with sriracha aioli, smoked pepper tomato sauce, blue cheese celery slaw ($10), choice of Cherrywood Smoked Pork Loin or Marinated Seared Mahi, with chimichurri, jasmine rice, toasted naan bread, tzatziki sauce and tomato cucumber salad ($15).
Piper Leaf Artisan Tea Co.- Locally blended iced tea by the quart in hand painted mason jars ($8, refills $4), and teas flavors with include Front Porch Special, with spearmint, jasmine, and Earl Grey, a “caffeine free fruity tea” and a “surprise flavor.”
Rocket Dogs- Hot Dog, 100 percent beef ($3), White Hot, pork and veal ($4), Chili Cheese Dog ($4), Veggie Dog ,tofu ($4), available condiments include 11 locally and regionally produced slaws, relishes and other toppings.
Rocket City Expresso- Espresso, Cappuccino, Lattes, available in mocha, caramel, vanilla, etc. (Up to $3.50, will blend and ice any drink for 25 cents extra) Blended Frapps, available in mocha, caramel, vanilla, white chocolate mocha, etc. ($3.75). Variety of teas ($1.50), Fruit Smoothies ($3.75).
Rollin Lobstah- Connecticut Lobstah Roll, warm fresh lobster tossed in melted butter, seasoning, toasted bun special seasoning ($11 with chips), Maine Lobstah Roll cool fresh lobster, lemon mayo, seasoning, toasted bun ($11 with chips), Mac Cheese Bacon Lobstah Bites, fried ($7 for four).
Sugar Belle Cupcakes- Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting, Mint Julep, Chocolate Salted Caramel and Chocolate Stout ($3 per cupcake, $5 for two).
Cinco de Mayo in Downtown Huntsville will be celebrated in downtown Huntsville May 5 from 5 – 10 p.m. The cost is free for everyone to attend. There will be a Huntsville celebrity margarita mixing contest, Piñatas, and Crave Heat will be parked in the Washington Street Alley.
Column Fri Apr 18 2014
“I think of [street food] as the antidote to fast food; it’s the clear alternative to the king, the clown and the colonel. It’s faster, and chances are it’s healthier than something at a traditional fast food restaurant. I would much rather give my money to a neighbor or an individual than to a gigantic corporation that owns half the world. Maybe it’s naïve of me, but I prefer food made by an identifiable human that’s actually cooking.” -Anthony Bourdain
Street food is pure food–no frills, no tipping, no chatting. A simple transaction of money and treasured sustenance, a cultural exchange rooted in the most basic of human commonalities. I grew up eating street food. Right at sunrise, my grandmother and I would meander through the markets of Shanghai, grabbing a box of shengjian before hustling to our favorite congee stall. The smoky and savory aroma of jianbing, chickens squawking, tea-boiled eggs, the grassiness of fresh produce wafted through the air as we ate on little plastic stools, watching people ride past on motorcycles and bikes.
Compared to its international counterparts, the US street food scene is relatively weak, especially in Chicago. Yes, there are food trucks, farmer’s markets, and occasional vendors scattered throughout the city, but street food is isolated, fragile, and for most, an indulgence. The system in Chicago hinders the mobile food scene, imposing licenses and penalties designed to dissuade entrepreneurs and to protect the restaurant industry from “competition.” Chicago currently has 74 licensed trucks, compared to 114 trucks in 2013. The food-truck ordinance issued by the Chicago City Council not only impacts trucks, but also carts. Regulations restrict what types of carts are allowed to sell food, including carts that sell whole, uncut produce and carts working under the Chicago Park District.
Food safety concerns and city rules are poor excuses for the bureaucratic barriers that mobile food businesses face. Street food is more than just tax revenue or a quick food alternative–like art, it’s incredibly cultural. Look at the intricate artwork of Chicago food trucks, the uniqueness of street vendors. The creativity and passion people pour into their small business reflects American entrepreneurship, local community, the utter simplicity and joy of feeding others.
There is nothing as humble and elegant as a freshly grilled skirt steak taco–double-shelled corn tortillas, cilantro, onions, still steaming and sizzling in a shoddy waxed wrapper. Or a hangover-worthy hot dog, topped with mustard and caramelized onions. Street food provides that fleeting, yet meaningful exchange between a seller and buyer, in an unassuming environment free of elitism and propriety. Max Falkowitz of NY summarizes it quite elegantly:
“Street life” is just that: a manifestation of public energy. And it’s a democratic energy, one that’s open to everyone and treats everyone equally. Street food helps transform sidewalks and public spaces from transit ways to destinations. “Street life” is just that: a manifestation of public energy. And it’s a democratic energy, one that’s open to everyone and treats everyone equally. In midtown, $100,000 salary-earners wait in line with bike messengers and construction workers for $5 plates of chicken and rice. That’s a healthy, necessary thing in a city where it’s far too easy to get siloed in socioeconomic subcultures. Street food helps to build and maintain community across economic, ethnic, and regional boundaries. It’s a vital part of urban life here.
Limiting street food perpetuates the idea of an aesthetically-pleasing Chicago, a disciplined public space where different cultures reside along a stagnant spectrum from Linden to 95th. But if street food embodies culture, can you imagine if people used their recipes to transport art, history, and ideas across Chicago? Can you imagine the power of mobile culture?
In what will be a first for New England and perhaps even the rest of the United States, Boston is about to get its very own Uyghur food truck. Although the truck won’t have an onboard noodle maker turning out plates of lagman, the truck — which is scheduled to hit the streets in the coming days — will be serving Uyghur style kebabs, sold on skewers or inside wraps.
The truck, Uyghur Kitchen, is the brainchild of Payzulla Polat, a professional musician currently studying music production and engineering at Boston’s Berklee School of Music and who originally hails from the Uyghur city of Urumqi. I recently reached out to Polat, who is busy with the various last-minute details that need attention before his truck is ready to roll, to find out more about his groundbreaking project. Our conversation is below:
How did you get the idea for a Uyghur food truck?
When I was a student in Los Angeles back in 2008, most days I got lunch from the food truck next to my school. They served really delicious doner kebabs and they were really cheap compared to regular restaurants. After eating there several times, I became a big food truck fan, and always pictured myself opening a Uyghur food truck in the future. It’s the perfect idea for Uyghur kebabs as they’re easy to make and easy to eat on the go. Other big reasons for starting a food truck are the relatively low investment costs for a new business and the movable location, which will make it accessible to more people.
Besides your truck, are there any other places in Boston to get Uyghur food?
Right now there are no restaurants in the New England area where you can find Uyghur food. I constantly hear about people looking for Uyghur food in the area, especially in Boston, but they haven’t found any yet.
Do you feel like Boston’s food scene is ready to support the arrival of Uyghur food?
I think it is. Kebabs are some of the most popular foods anywhere in the world, and of course in the U.S. as well. Uyghur kebabs have a unique taste, and they’re always a top choice on the table when I have parties in my backyard with my American friends. I worked for almost a year in one of the more successful food trucks (Sweet Tomatoes) in Boston from the first day they hit the street and I always saw people looking for new and healthy food in the markets or on the street. I believe that Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck will bring some more good attention to Boston’s food scene.
What’s your own connection to Uyghur food?
I’m a Uyghur, and I grew up in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Living next to the most historical and beautiful street in the city (Console St.) with lots of food stands and great restaurants around, I always had a wide variety of great food to choose from. I want to bring some of that flavor to Boston and help people discover the taste of our delicious food.
Any plans beyond the truck?
Absolutely! Uyghur Kitchen Food Truck is meant to introduce Uyghur food and culture to people largely unfamiliar with them. It’ll be a good start to give them a taste of what we eat and who we are. It’s also a good way to advertise and introduce our brand, and to spread the name Uyghur around the region with a movable vehicle. Our goal for the future is to open a restaurant that can truly represent our people and our culture as well.
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