Spring's arrived and so have the food trucks. So what's new in the world of meals-on-the-go?
Food truck parks are an internationally growing trend as consumers discover the chance to try unique foods on the go.
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While some cities, like Atlanta, may have run into a few bumps while starting up, many cities see the designated places as communal areas. And this summer, Knoxville, Tennessee is looking to join the growing number of dedicated spaces for foodies.
“It’s nice that we can get food like this outside. It’s fun,” George Cowan told WATE-TV.
And Tootsie Truck owner Rebecca Saldivar agreed. "We’ve attempted to do things like this in the past, but now we really have enough food trucks to really pull this off, so it’s really exciting to see this all finally happen."
The ability to eat on-the-go isn't new but the resurgence of food trucks in the past decade has revived the idea of tasty treats where a diner can mix and match different elements from various chefs.
Throughout the United States, food truck and parks are creating a conversation piece. KTHV-TV in Conway, Arkansas, noted that a vacant parking lot downtown will transform into the Conway Food Truck Park every Tuesday through Saturday. The station also pointed out that the variety of food means an introduction to new restaurants locally, especially those who run trucks and brick-and-mortar locations.
In Chicago's Oak Park neighborhood, Tino Ganacias and his 206 food truck are looking to add a restaurant, too. Before moving from Seattle, he owned and espresso bar, according to the Chicago Tribune profile. Once in Chicago, he turned a family recipe for waffles into a thriving food truck with breakfast foods and coffee. Ganacias and his wife worked with the community to create a welcomed experience.
He's not looking to change the specialized quality of his food in the new cafe, either. Instead he's going to focus on the coffee and espresso aspect, combining two passions into a sit-down location. The vehicle will converted into a farmer's market and block party staple, still continuing the community aspect that appeals to so many fans of the food truck experience.
And this year Sea Isle City, New Jersey is looking to hold two Food Truck rallies this summer. Last year’s success drew over 75,000 people during the three day event in September, according to NJ.com. And those numbers are expected to grow even more. Events will feature 16 trucks of various culinary genres ranging from pretzels and waffles to hot dogs and bistro fare.
Of course, any mention of food trucks and parks must include Los Angeles. Created out of the taco truck idea, food trucks really earned their mark as customers delighted in the quick, easy fare on a short lunch break. In an ethnically and culturally diverse city, food trucks offer a little bit of everything.
"It mixes up Mexican, Korean, Jewish, health food ... every kind of culture here. It's a reflection of and a recombination of the foods and culture that make up the tapestry of L.A.,” Jon Favreau explained the Los Angeles food truck phenomenon when promoting the film Chef on CNN last year.
And chefs are getting into the idea, too. Roy Choi opened Kogi, his food truck that made Korean barbecue tacos, and the response has been heard around the world—from New York to Amsterdam. Now the chefs are “putting their own spin on it” and creating a new kind of response, says Choi.
Favreau also added that “DJs all have the same music, the same beats to choose from, it's which ones you choose and how you mix them up that makes you an original.” In turn, that means “food trucks are our bootleg tapes."
Thanks to social media, the market for food trucks has exploded. If a business isn’t parked, all a person has to do is tweet or post the location and customers will flock. Twitter is essential in quick means of passing out information.
With summer and spring rolling through many parts of America, food trucks should be popping up, so be on the lookout. You never know what tasty treat you may just find.
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Source: Chicago Tribune, CNN, KTHV-TV, NJ.com, WATE-TV