You’ve read our Ultimate Jersey Food Truck Showdown series (if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), about all the great food trucks scattered around the state.
Now’s the time to see who wins our coveted Silver Spatula Award for Most Popular Food Truck in New Jersey. Voting ends this Friday at midnight; the winner will be announced on Monday.
More than 3,500 votes have been cast so far, and it’s a close race, with the Cinnamon Snail, The Taco Truck and Oink and Moo BBQ the top three vote-getters to date.
But anyone can win the award, so it’s time to cast your vote — and tell your favorite truck to get the word out to all its fans through Twitter and Facebook.
To vote, go here.
Did you miss the mouth-watering stories in the food truck series, including profiles of the top trucks, a list of the best truck dishes, and a won’t-find-anywhere-else directory of Jersey food trucks? Here is the complete series.
While placemaking is principally focused on creating public spaces with good form, where good form is lacking, attractions such as food trucks can contribute to place by attracting people, enlivening an area and stimulating other business activity.
Placemaking is about creating a physical environment that helps activate a public space with the presence of people, whether passing by or lingering to socialize. Good design is a principal component of placemaking. What else is there? We know that a mixture of uses helps to activate a space by providing diversity in terms of activities and 24-hour use. But what if a space lacks good form or a mixture of uses? Can a space absent one or both of these key attributes become a place that attracts people without redevelopment?
Enter the food truck. A mobile form of food vending, food trucks are emerging in cities big and small and in suburban office and industrial parks as a source of unique ethnic food and a social condenser. “If you want to seed a place with activity, put out food,” William Whyte wrote in The social life of small urban spaces, because “food attracts people who attract more people”. It would be an oversimplification to suggest that if a food truck pulls up on a sparsely-populated street that people will just show up, but increasingly, cities are allowing food trucks to do business in struggling districts of the community as a way to enliven an area, stimulate other business activity and provide healthier food choices where few previously existed.
From an economic development standpoint, food trucks have also been promoted as a relatively low cost food business startup opportunity and a transitional business to help food-entrepreneurs ‘grow’ into a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Additionally, the allowance of food trucks in a community signals to budding entrepreneurs that government is helping to create and support an entrepreneurial culture.
Of course, food trucks are not without their share of potential problems. Existing bricks-and-mortar restaurants may perceive them as unwelcome competition and aspects of food truck operation, such as permissible locations, time of operation, provision of seating and trash receptacles, signage and more are aspects that should be discussed and potentially regulated. For these reasons and more, any community exploring the expansion of food trucks should do so in a thorough way and include various stakeholders in the development of the regulations/permissions.
The National League of Cities studies food trucks thoroughly in their report Food on Wheels: Mobil Vending Goes Mainstream and recommends five overall considerations for cities looking to address food trucks (and other forms of mobile vending) in their jurisdictions:
- Hold town hall forums and private meetings with core stakeholders.
- Encourage dialogue and the building of relationships among competing stakeholders.
- Implement pilot programs to determine what regulations to adopt.
- Use targeted practices as a way to address underserved areas of the city.
- Identify private vacant lots and create partnerships for mobile vendors to gather and vend in the same location.
Additionally, the American Planning Association recently published a Zoning Practice resource on Food Trucks. In Michigan, numerous cities have already addressed food trucks by amending their ordinances, some of which include Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ferndale, Traverse City and Grand Blanc Township, and Michigan State University Extension educators can assist communities as they manage this placemaking decision.
For more information about food trucks and placemaking:
- Placemaking: People make “great places”
- Food Trucks: Transcending from utilitarian to epicurean
- Food Trucks motor into the mainstream
TULSA – A mobile food truck is moving across the Tulsa metro to battle hunger.
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is traveling to underserved areas to feed people in need.
“We’re able to go to numerous locations and we can change according to what’s going on in the community,” Executive Director of the Food Bank Eileen Bradshaw said.
The food truck on wheels started last November. Since it began, the organization has handed out more than 1,600 meals.
“To have that source to come into the community and be a blessing to the people is just amazing,” Nelson Seldon, who received a hot meal, said.
The food bank says the mobile truck targets areas high in food insecurity and low income.
“The primary focus is to feed the hungry and there’s never a charge for that… for anyone who has transportation challenges taking the food to them really makes a big difference,” Bradshaw said.
Nelson says he awoke today not knowing where to go to get a meal, but says the food truck came just in time to get him through the day.
“To see this happen, it’s a great thing. A great feeling… It helps so many people and that what’s it’s all about at the end of the day,” Nelson said.
The mobile truck moves to different locations three times a week. Each meal is free. To find out where the mobile truck will be next, contact the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Yelpers can sure be annoying, but one Albuquerque food truck owner discovered a brilliant way to bite back: Positivity and ukulele. The music video below features musicians Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland and lyrics written by Albuquerque food truck chef/owner Amy Black, who also appears in the video, to serenade a dissatisfied Yelper.
Black wrote the lyrics in response to a one-star Yelp review her truck received earlier this month in which Vero P. wrote: “Wholy waste of $30 and an hour to get my food.” Sings Sage Harrington: “Take back your one star review / Vero P. can’t you see, how much we love you.” Black is dismayed Vero P. didn’t voice his complaints directly, choosing instead to “log onto Yelp with fiery vitriol.” Black wants to make amends, however: “Dear Vero P. have a fried chicken banh mi on me.” Go, watch:
Video: One Star Review – Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band
· One Star Review – Sage and Jared’s Happy Gland Band [YouTube]
· All Yelp Coverage on Eater [-E-]
Xristo’s Cafe is trying to bring food truck culture to Waco, but the journey to getting this restaurant on wheels wasn’t easy.
Stephanie Garman always wanted her own cafe in downtown Waco, but every opportunity seemed to fall through.
“We would always look and then something would happen or I’d have another child and it just never came to pass,” Garman said.
Six kids and several years later, she became inspired by the food trucks in Austin.
She thought it was the perfect way to showcase her Greek cooking, so Xristo’s Cafe was born.
The truck opened for business on the corner of University Parks and Franklin last Friday, but she says it’s already taking off.
“We get a lot of people that say…somebody told me to come here or I saw this on Facebook,” Garman said. “It’s amazing.”
Customer say they love the handful of food trucks they find in Waco, they just wish there were more.
“I think it would keep young people downtown or even in Waco more if we had this kind of culture that they could enjoy,” Baylor graduate Sarah Picken said.
Jennifer Husak enjoys the convenience of food trucks.
“I think it would just be great for a lunch break to have more food trucks and it would kind of boost the economy,” Husak said.
Getting one up and running isn’t easy.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District checklist says you have to operate from a central preparation facility, no storing or preparing food at your home.
Finding local restaurants with that extra space can be hard, but Xristo’s Cafe made it happen and Stephanie Garman is hoping more food trucks will too.
“I think Waco is ready to revitalize downtown,” Garman said.
If you want to try the local food trucks Waco has to offer, some of them are expected to be at Brazos Park East on April 5th for the “Movable Feast for Beasts” event.
Help suggest Best of WNC categories here!
Ten food trucks are lined up at the lot at The Masonic Temple, 80 N. Broadway, for the Food Truck Showdown to compete for the title of Asheville’s best food truck.
Donations of canned goods for MANNA FoodBank and pet supplies for Asheville Humane Society are encouraged.
Tweet from El Kimchi (@El_Kimchi):
“Come see us and other food trucks at the Masonic Temple downtown for The Food Truck Showdown 12:00-8:00! #avleat #avl”
Post from Smash Box Mobile Kitchen:
“Today! Don’t miss it! Come support some great causes and us, too! 12-8pm…Cheers!”
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HOUSTON—Zeapod Cakery sells cookies, cupcakes, and other confections made by a mom with sweet dreams of building a cake empire.
“My husband said if you sell a cake, I will buy you a mixer,” Liz Hale explained of the bet her husband made with her.
Instead of a cake, Hale sold 200 cupcakes, and her husband made good on the deal. This mom-turned-entrepreneur got her mixer, then got to work.
“I am self-taught through Youtube and Google,” she said.
Hale went from baking her kids’ birthday cakes to creating custom cakes for local celebs like the Houston Texans’ Daniel Manning. You can enjoy her treats from her mobile cake truck—Zeapod Cakery, which is open seven days a week.
The recipes are all her own—from chocolate-stuffed cookies, to gourmet cheesecakes, to something called a “cupcake-on-a-stick.” This customer-favorite looks like a push-pop, and it’s the first of its kind in Houston.
“I always tell people the story about how I lost one in a giant purse and I found it two days later, and it tasted just as fresh and delicious,” said customer Jessica Piedra.
Hale’s dream is bigger than her cake truck. Last year she launched My Food Park HTX, at 800 Hwy 6 South, in West Houston to lure more food trucks outside the loop.
For this mom, it’s a dream come true.
Twitter @ZeapodCakery or @MyFoodParkHTX
Katherine Whaley’s review: Loved the variety of cup cake-on-a-stick flavors (I tried the Oreo). The cake was light and moist, and it was easier to eat than a cupcake. Even though the cupcakes-on-a-stick get all of the attention, my favorite item was the peanut butter stuffed chocolate cookie. The cookie was heavy on the chocolate, tender, slightly chewy, and full of rich, creamy (not too sweet) peanut butter. Of course, the KHOU microphone cake she made was so nice!
New York City cured meat royalty Katz’s Delicatessen has spent 125 years building its name as the top pastrami slinger in the city, so owners weren’t keen on some upstart trying to horn in on their brand. The legendary restaurant has filed a lawsuit against a group of pastrami-selling food trucks dubbed “Katz Dogz” who the real Katz’s say are ripping off their name, according to the Post.
“It has taken over a century of dedication, hard work and consistent customer satisfaction for Katz’s Deli to become famous,” notes the trademark-infringement suit; the restaurant worries customers won’t realize they’re not getting “the same Jewish deli foods” they’d find at the Houston street original. Besides the obvious name ripoff, the food truck sells a “Reuben Orgasm” sandwich—now why does that sound so familiar?
This lawsuit comes after some back-and-forth between the two parties, including an offer by Katz’s Deli to pay for the food trucks to be repainted without the Katz name. Talks failed and the restaurant filed a $1 million dollar lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday against the Brooklyn-based TMA Trading Inc., which operates the trucks. Katz Dogz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Local beer company Finnegans unveils reverse food truck KARE
Digital Producer- Jacksonville Business Journal
One week after the original food truck fiasco, Councilman Reggie Brown hosted a meeting to bring together truck operators, fans and legislators to draft legislation to regulate mobile food establishments.
The second time seemed to be a charm.
Proposed legislation that critics said would have rendered the operation of food trucks impossible were modified during the meeting to allow food trucks to operate in the city, according to a report from WJCT News.
Rather than the midnight closing time that had been proposed, the legislation would make trucks shut down at 3 a.m. During the meeting, city lawyers also clarified that the discussion around bathrooms did not apply to commercial food trucks, but only those giving away food.
For WJCT’s full report, including feedback from food truck operators, click here.
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