It seems that it was only a few months ago that food trucks in Atlanta was the hot new trend to hit our city. Exciting new food with a hint of political activism.
It all began when the first street food vendor to capture our hearts, The King of Pops, burst onto the scene in the spring of 2010. Soon thereafter, the Hankook Taqueria-powered Yumbii popped up and food trucks and all of the regulatory road blocks hindering this new segment of the Atlanta restaurant scene came into the public discourse. (The Atlanta Street Food Coalition began organizing supporters for the cause since the summer of ’09, I’m simply referring to when the average foodie actually started paying attention.)
Because food trucks can only set up shop on private property, leaders had to look for alternate venues to help raise awareness and give these new business somewhere to operate. Events like the Urban Picnic and Souper Jenny’s Food Truck Extravaganza provided a sanctioned place for food trucks to gather and for diners to sample a cross section of the newest trucks on the scene.
Fast forward a year and many of the roadblocks limiting the food truck scene are still in place, though there are now over 10 food trucks fully permitted by the health department. The food truck fever on the blogosphere may have died down, but more and more trucks have been popping up and many still need a place to operate.
The newest evolution in the Atlanta food truck scene is that of neighborhood food truck parks. Things began slowly, with an event maybe one or two days a week. But now, there is a gathering of trucks nearly every night.
Whether it be in Buckhead, Atlantic Station, Virginia Highland, Inman park, or Howell mill, if you live in town getting your food truck fix should only be a short drive away. And good news for the not-so-in-town crowd, the AJC recently reported that Marietta is beginning to take steps to permit food trucks as well.
I attended Food Truck Wednesday in Virginia Highland this week and really enjoyed getting to try many of the newer trucks around town. I personally think that this is a great development. Yes, it allows for more spots for the food trucks to conduct business, but I think it enriches the participating neighborhoods. Plus, if you live in the same area for long enough, no matter how diverse the local restaurants are, things grow stale after a while. This is a great way to mix things up.
Social media and the food truck scene have been intertwined from the get-go, so things like the Twitter feed from Atlanta Street Food or websites like Roaming Hunger remain the best way to stay up to date on where you can find the trucks.
Are there any regular food truck gatherings in your area that people may not know about?
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog