Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just Ask Me!

This week, and through the month of August, I'm answering questions submitted by my readers.
Question 1:  How many trucks are there in DFW?
Answer 1: There are a total of 65 different concepts currently on the road. Of those three have multiple trucks.
                   There are 12 brand concepts that should roll out in the next 30 days and a second truck from Gandolfo's.
                   If all of these trucks roll out on schedule, but the end of August we would have 84 trucks, on the road.
*Disclaimer, this number is subject to change, it seems that every month there are three or four trucks that roll out with out notice.


Question 2: With between 65 and 84 trucks rolling, is the DFW market saturated?
Answer 2:  Not even close. Some specific areas may seem saturated;  for example, every Dallas permitted truck wants to be in the Arts District for lunch.  But, there are large areas within the Dallas city limits and all through the the suburbs that are are under-served by the food trucks. 

Question 3:  How much do these trucks really make?
Answer 3:    I cannot answer this question for several reasons.
                    1. No one is ever going to tell me how much they make.
                    2. The income is going to vary significantly by truck owner. Like any small business, you get out of it what you put in to it.  The trucks owners that I assume to be doing well are working 18-20 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, year round. 
                    3. Food trucking is a seasonal business. The DFW trucks were very lucky this January and February and did not have to contend with many cold days, the trade-off is that they are struggling this July and August with significantly lower than average sales. If I asked any truck owner their income for this past week, they would most likely cry. 


Question 4:  What is the best way to track the trucks? With the growing numbers, following every single truck on Facebook or Twitter isn't practical. Your website aggregates the tweets, which helps, but it's still hard to scan them all and identify the neighborhoods. What I'm looking for is a list by city/area or a map, but the ones I've found are barely populated or not kept up to date.
Answer 4: The short answer is that I haven't found the perfect way to track the trucks.  There are several other websites/apps out there:  Beecon and Roaming Hunger are the two that are the closest to current and have maps attached.  
        Beecon is the website and iPhone app that is DFW specific and that I have the most knowledge of.  The trucks are asked to submit their schedules for the week and the locations are entered in to a database. I checked the website this morning and I did not find any trucks in the incorrect location and the two that were doing breakfast were listed, along with those serving lunch and dinner today.  The only drawback of this site is that it relies on the trucks to submit their information, so its only as complete as the trucks allow it to be. Also, because it is a manual entry, if there is a schedule change, there may be an miss by the programmers and the new location or cancellation may not be reflected on the site.  
         I am not sure how Roaming Hunger gets their data, I just checked the Roaming Hunger site and for yesterday, it was correct for all but one truck.  I happen to know that two trucks are out for breakfast this morning and neither are posted on Roaming Hunger for today. Everything seems to be correct for lunch today. I do like that Roaming Hunger breaks down the map by meal so that you aren't wondering what hours the trucks will be near your location. I also like that Roaming Hunger covers other cities, if you travel you can find food trucks anywhere in the US with one site. 
      With both of these sites, I would still recommend confirming location with the trucks on Facebook and Twitter before you head out.  




If you want to ask a question about food trucks, their operations or this blog, feel free to comment, post on Facebook or Twitter or email me. I'll try to answer as many as I can, with the understanding that I intentionally do not know anything about the permitting process in the various cities and  I cannot share proprietary information that many of the trucks have shared with me.
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

August Week Night Events are Hot, Weekend Events are on Hiatus

As you would expect, August is going to be a slow month for the food trucks. As hot is it outside the trucks, it can be 30 degrees hotter inside the trucks. With that in mind, all large scale events have been postponed and the trucks will be gathering in small groups, hopefully in shaded areas to serve you and keep you from heating up your own kitchen.



Monday nights are now Monday Night “Foodball” at The Arbors at Frankford and 18212 Preston Road in Dallas. Each Monday night several trucks will on-site to bring North Dallas some of the best food off of a food truck.


Street Food Wednesday continues in the parking lot of Crate and Barrel 3104 Knox Street in Dallas. Each week, four to five trucks set up in this location, from 6-9 for your dinner enjoyment.


Wednesday nights also brings the Food Truck Experience at Sigel’s on 5757 Greenville Avenue. Each week Good Karma Kitchen, Rockstar Bakeshop, Rock & Roll Tacos, Cajun Tailgators, SCI, Three Lions, Crazy Fish and Enticed will be set up outside while Sigel’s is open for cooling off inside while you shop for your adult beverages, from 6-9 pm.


Thursday Night Bites will continue in at 3875 Pointe Avenue in Addison, with 5-6 trucks rotating each week from 6-9 pm. There is a lot of green space in this area, so that cools things down considerable. For the month of August a movie will be playing from 8-10pm and the trucks have the option to stay the extra hour.


Starting August 2, US Food Trucks has partnered up with Camden properties and will be bringing food trucks to the Camden Farmers Market (Marilla & Farmers Market Way – caddy corner from the Dallas Farmers Market) on Thursday nights from 5-8pm.


The Parking Lot at Sprouts (formerly Sunflower Markets) is the place to be on Thursday, August 9 when ten trucks set up at 1800 Henderson Ave in Dallas from 6 – 10. Trucks scheduled to serve include Nammi, Jack’s Chowhound, Good Karma Kitchen, SCI, Rock and Roll Tacos, Four Seasons, Crazy Fish, Cajun Tailgators, Three Lions, Rockstar Bakeshop and Jack’s Chowhound.


Beginning August 16, food trucks will start serving dinner at Cedars Food Park at Old Heritage Village in Dallas. The Grand Opening of this location was a huge success and everyone loved the tree shaded park.  This should be a great dinner location for the trucks. On Friday, August 31, the trucks will also start serving on Friday nights at the same location. 


Tuesday August 21, Truckin’ Tuesdays at the Village, 8308 Southwestern Blvd in Dallas returns with ten food trucks and something for the entire family. On the 21st, Easy Slider, Nammi, Jack’s Chowhound, Good Karma Kitchen, Ssahm, Rock and Roll Tacos, Four Seasons, Cajun Tailgators, Three Lions, Rockstar Bakeshop and Jack’s Chowhound will all be serving.


7508 Ambassador Row Dallas– Starting August 22nd US Food Trucks will be hosting lunch service outside of their new commissary on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays leading up to a Grand Opening celebration on September 8th. Each day a small group of trucks will be set up during the lunch time to get you a quick, tasty bite before you head back to the office.




On August 23 and 30, The Ginger Man at 2718 Boll Street in Dallas will host three food trucks, Jack's Chowhound, Easy Slider and Rock and Roll Tacos from 6 - 10. Ginger Man will offer beer pairings to go with the food. 


The large scale events will be back in September, with some really exciting things, so stay tuned and stay cool through August.


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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Twelve Hot Trucks to Hit DFW This Hot August

A new month brings us twelve new trucks to talk about, including five that hit the streets in July that I did not know about at the beginning of July.

In the “Already Rolling” category

Taco Party rolled their truck to Taste of Dallas. This is an authentic Mexican street tacos truck. You can follow Taco Party on Facebook and Twitter to find out where the next party will be.

1.  Phatso’s Cheesesteaks is an Austin based truck that has opened a second truck in Fort Worth, parked at the Cowtown Chowdown.  This truck is serving up traditional Philly style cheesesteaks and also has some unique concepts to take your sandwich to a new level, pepperoni cheesesteak, anyone? Check them out on Facebook and Twitter for more information. 


2.  Wayne’s Flame finally brings Fort Worth a BBQ food truck. Stationed at Cowtown Chowdown, this menu has it all: beef, pork, chicken, turkey, with plenty of traditional sides.  I love good barbecue and cannot wait to try this truck!  Follow them on Facebook for more information.

3.  Fajita Xpresso rolled out in mid-July, primarily serving the North Fort Worth and Keller areas. Their menu includes both traditional fajitas as well as fajita salads and fajita sandwiches. You can find Fajita Xpresso  on Facebook and Twitter.

4.  Kona Ice of North Irving/Farmer's Branch/Addison rolled out in early July serving  tropical shaved ice.  This sounds like the perfect truck for these incredibly hot summer days. If you are in the areas where they are serving follow on Facebook to get their exact location and hours of operation.


In the "Rolling Out a New Truck" category:

5.  Ruthie’s Rolling CafĂ© is rolling out their second truck in the middle of August and their third truck at the end of August. Neither will   be another grilled cheese truck but will be two entirely new concept, Philly Cheesesteaks and a Creperie.  Owner Ashlee Kleinert tells me the truck chefs have been busy putting the finishing touches on the menu that will have something for every cheesesteak lover and Ruthie's recently posed the question on Facebook, sweet or savory crepes?  These two trucks are going to be fun additions to the Dallas food truck scene! Follow Ruthie's Rolling Cafe on Facebook and Twitter to be among the first to know when the Cheesesteak and the Creperie trucks rolls out.


In the Brand New To The Street category: 

6.  I do not know understand why anyone would open a food truck in August in DFW.  For me, its too hot to be inside a metal box, but if you are going to open one, it is a fabulous time of year to open an ice cream truck. This is exactly what Gypsy Scoops is doing, starting in the second week of August. I have been told and Gypsy Scoop's website confirms that with this truck customers will be allowed on the truck in order to choose their flavors, making the truck a mobile ice cream parlour.  You can follow Gypsy Scoops on Facebook and Twitter to find out where and when the parlour will be rolling.
7. Mediterranean Chunky Monkey is a unique truck that has found what I believe to be a perfect location. This Mediterranean truck will be serving pita sandwiches including gyros and shawarma, Greek salads, burgers and truck made waffles with sweet toppings.  The truck will be mostly stationary, parked on the TCU campus in "The Greek".  I have been emailing with the owners of this truck for several months and they have really done their research on the best menu and truck operations and I am very excited to finally get to try them. You can follow the Mediterranean Chunky Monkey on Facebook and Twitter to get more information about them and their menu, which is not like anything we have seen from a truck, so far. 
Another truck that I am excited about is Tutta's Pizza.  When I asked the truck owners to describe themselves, their response was "Tutta's is a combination of great pizza, the love of music and the arts, as well as a desire to bring love and joy to everyone around them. What separates us from the crowd is our creativity in our approach to food. We slow smoke our own meats, make our own pizza and barbecue sauce, as well as fresh dough daily! There are even rumors of sandwiches and fresh "truck"made desserts around the corner!"   
This sounds like a fun truck and their menu has something for everyone.... brisket pizza, chicken and bacon pizza, and "Plain Jayne" pizza.  Look for this truck to roll out at the end of the month. Specifics about the menu and the roll out date can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


     If you are a regular reader of this blog you know my love for sushi.  I love it more than any other food.  Which is why I am extremely excited that Fort Worth is getting a sushi truck from The Bento Box.  The Bento Box describes themselves as "Contemporary, refined, Japanese food for everyone. We utilize the freshest local ingredients with truly sustainable seafood in order to create a culinary experience that is both satisfying and fun".   They had me at freshest local ingredients. This truck rolls out on August 8 and I cannot wait. To learn more about the truck, including the charity collection they are doing with The Humane Society, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.




Sweetie V's is a Caribbean/Southern cuisine that expects to be out on the streets of Dallas in late August. I look forward to trying this truck and seeing what food of the islands they bring to Dallas.  You can follow Sweetie V's on Facebook and Twitter and find out they they plan to roll and the specifics of their menu. 



I am excited about the new flavors hitting the streets this August! 

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cedars Food Park Change in Operation Schedule

News Release from Cedars Food Park





MEDIA ALERT!




CEDARS FOOD PARK AT DALLAS HERITAGE VILLAGE ANNOUNCES UPDATED HOURS FOR OPENING MONTH


Due to the extreme heat, the food park decided to postpone lunch service, and due to the great success of the Grand Opening Bash, the food park decided to add more evenings/weekends hours.


WHAT: Cedars Food Park at Dallas Heritage Village, Dallas’ first food truck venue in a park setting, will postpone lunch service till later this year due to the extreme heat, and will begin regular service on Thursday, August 16 from 5pm-10pm and will continue every Thursday evening thereafter. Beginning Friday, August 31, the park will begin Friday evening service. Friday service will also be from 5pm-10pm and will continue each Friday evening thereafter. Cedars Food Park at Dallas Heritage Villages’ evening service represents the beginning of a unique collaboration between food trucks and Dallas Heritage Village, and will feature many of Dallas’ best gourmet food trucks, offer live entertainment, and sell beer and wine from local establishments. Food prices range from $2 - $10 with a portion of the proceeds going to Dallas Heritage Village. Always free admission and pets encouraged.






UPDATED HOURS*: Thursday’s 5pm – 10pm (starting Aug 16th)


Friday’s 5pm – 10pm (starting August 31st)


Follow the park for select Saturday’s and Sunday’s, and big special events.


*Wed-Fri lunches postponed due to extreme heat.






WHERE: 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, Texas 75215






WHY: Following the grand opening event, Cedars Food Park will initially be open Thursday’s for dinner and music, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, beginning August 16th and Friday’s for dinner and music, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, beginning August 31st. To beat the early evening heat, the trucks will be parked under giant Cedar Elm shade trees, and air-conditioned eating areas will be available for all customers.






(Please note Dallas Heritage Village is traditionally closed the month of August, reopening September 1. Visitors coming to eat at the food trucks during the month of August are welcome to stroll the grounds and eat in select air-conditioned buildings; however, many historic structures will reopen September 1, when programming resumes.)






CONTACT:


Brad Friedman, Cedars Food Park Media Relations – cell - 214-244-3409


Melissa Prycer, Dallas Heritage Village - cell 214-734-9281


Valerie Gabriel-Swenson, VGS Marketing Group - cell 972-741-4400



# # #



Cedars Food Park is located at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park. 1515 Harwood St., Dallas Texas, 75215. It is just southeast of downtown Dallas, blocks from the Farmer’s Market. Food Park hours are Thursday and Friday nights from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Free admission for food park only customers during food park hours. Always free parking. Pets encouraged. More details on the Food Park can be found at www.cedarsfoodpark.com, twitter@CedarsFoodPark, www.facebook.com/CedarsFoodPark.

Dallas Heritage Village (DHV), located at Old City Park, is a nationally accredited history museum, depicting life in Dallas from 1840-1910. It is one of only five museums in the Dallas area to have this distinction. The grounds showcase 38 historic structures, including log cabins, the pre-Civil War Millermore home, a Victorian Main Street, a railroad complex, an 1860s farmstead with livestock, a 19th century church, school and more. Dallas Heritage Village is supported, in part, by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts as well as individual and group donations. Dallas Heritage Village was nominated in 2011 and 2012 by D Magazine as one of the top Dallas-area family attractions. It is located at 1515 South Harwood, one block south of Farmers Market in Downtown Dallas. For more information call 214-421-5141 or visit www.DallasHeritageVillage.org.





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