The average person may not have noticed but there’s been a huge uptick in organized food truck lots. Since it’s my job to keep you informed, let me tell you what I know. In my mind, a successful food truck lot is one where you’ve got ample parking, a variety of cuisines and a lack of geographical competition.
The most recent food truck lot is in Culver City. The Culver City Food Truck Fest meets on the last Friday of each month at the Culver City High School. The first one kicked off June 24th from 5-9 in the parking lot. Normally, truck lots are free; this one had a suggested $2 donation, which went to Culver City High School, as well as the trucks donating 10% of their profits. There were tables and chairs set out, so you could hang out with friends and family. Also, since this event was organized by Go Country 105 Chuck Wagon, there was alot of good music and tickets were being handed out to a select few to the upcoming LeAnn Rimes concert. There were 9 different trucks, covering a range of cuisines, including Da Munch Box (NY knish, pastrami & beef dogs), Auntie’s Fry Bread (Native American fry bread with savory or sweet toppings) and of course, Go Country 105 Chuck Wagon (BBQ beef, pulled pork & fried pickles). Check out the next event on Friday, July 29th; some of the same trucks and some new ones!
The original First Friday started down on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It was started by the local merchants to bring awareness to the street. Unfortunately, it became so successful that the food trucks descended and before you knew it, there were over 50 trucks lining the street. The local merchants got together and purchased a permit banning the trucks. Enter Westchester! The local merchants on 87th Street in Westchester (aka Business Triangle) saw a golden opportunity and grabbed it.
The event is hosted and organized by No Reservations Catering/Food Truck (hot wrap sandwiches), in conjunction with the Westchester merchant group. It’s been running for about 5-6 months now and they typically have about 8-9 trucks on the first Friday of the month. The merchants got together for First Friday in July and bought a city permit to close the street. They also added a jazz band, a total of 13 trucks, and literally lined the street with tables and chairs, as well as 4th of July decorations. The street is adjacent to a large free parking lot. Since it was quite warm this past Friday, it looked like Tango Mango (Italian Ice) would be selling out pretty quickly! Again, there were a variety of cuisines represented, including the ever popular The Grilled Cheese Truck (grilled cheese sandwiches, tater tots & tomato soup), as well as The Dumpling Station (dumplings & chocolate banana wontons). The next first Friday is Friday, August 5th from 4-9pm.
There’s a new lot starting next Friday in Westwood, July 8th from 5-9pm; located at Westwood Presbyterian Church, 10822 Wilshire Blvd. It’s being organized by Da Munch Box and they may have it every Friday. It’s called Munchin After Dark and their first line-up includes10 trucks so far, including Papas Tapas (Spanish), Sweet E’s Bake Shop (cupcakes & cake pops) and Frysmith (fries with meat & extras). Since it hasn’t happened yet, I can’t say too much more about it but given that it’s at a church, I would think the parking is ample. If they’re going to do it every week, I’m not sure how much business they’ll get on Friday the 15th, since that’s the beginning of the dreaded Carmageddon.
Finally, a word about a food truck lot that is no longer around. Every Tuesday night, you could go to the Best Buy in Hawthorne (147th St) and find 6-7 trucks, tables and chairs, and plenty of free parking, organized by The Truck Chaser. For some reason, the city of Hawthorne brought down the hammer and shut it down. I don’t understand how that works, since they were on Best Buy’s property and if Best Buy didn’t have a problem with it, then why should the city of Hawthorne. Several food truck owners tried to approach the City Council and were not even allowed to be heard! I think that’s very short-sighted of the city, as well as a show of bad manners. A number of us that followed the event on Twitter have expressed our discontent. Personally, the city of Hawthorne can forget about getting my consumer dollars and I know I’m not alone. Food trucks are not a fad and they’re not going away anytime soon. If anything, there’s been an ever-growing proliferation of trucks, as well as their integration into just about every festival or event.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of food truck lots. Since I’m a Westchester resident, I focused on a few that are closer to me. The list of food truck lots just keeps on growing – happy eating!