The Two College Foodies here, Johnny and Nicole - wanted to just talk a little bit about food trucks as they are becoming more popular in our community through our weekly food truck meet ups. Learn a little about the food trucks’ background and be inspired to hunt down a truly great meal!
In America, dining out is not just a way to fuel our bodies; it’s a part of a culture. Fast food is on every corner, harkening customers with bright colors and its quick and easy quality. But, fast food hardly has a reputation for being a meal of grandeur.
On the other hand, brick and mortar restaurants have been struggling through the recession, losing customers due to high prices and declining quality of food and service. Although both have been trying to revamp their styles, there is a competitor in the mix that is stirring up not only controversy, but also quality, gourmet meals that are making the fast food restaurants green with envy, and making brick and mortar restaurants tremble in fear… the food truck.
Food trucks have a longer history in America than fast food. Settlers traveling west to explore the new frontier sold meals out of their covered wagons. Now, food trucks have expanded past chuck wagons and “roach coaches.” Due to their low start-up costs and the devout following of food truck lovers, chefs are taking it to the streets to sell their ever-changing menus. Food trucks have allowed chefs to explore unique and unconventional offerings, such as Mexican and Korean BBQ fusion or a menu entirely devoted to Grilled Cheese sandwiches due to the “foodie” lovers that gravitate towards new and interesting dining concepts.
An even bigger advantage to the food truck is its speed and mobility. Tight quarters and trained chefs crank out meals in record time to lines that can stretch around the block. Instead of being tied down to one location, food trucks can travel anywhere, serving fans in multiple locations and reaching a larger scale of potential customers that no fast food or traditional restaurant could aim for.
However, the growing popularity of the food truck has not been without its bumps in the road. Their competitors have taken notice have reacted to it in different ways. Many brick and mortar restaurants have gone to their local government, petitioning to ban food trucks due to unfair competition. Some cities now have all out bans on food trucks while others allow food trucks to apply for permits for special events. Taking the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach, restaurants such as Jack in the Box and Red Robin are now launching their own food trucks onto the scene.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the impact of food trucks has had vibrations past the foodie scene.
So what will be the ultimate fate of the food truck? In this here today, gone tomorrow society, no one can be certain. But it is becoming a rarity today in America to find a high quality meal at a reasonable price. Furthermore, food trucks are selling more than just fresh, delicious food… they are selling an experience. By offering unconventional cuisine, food trucks allow people to try new foods, like the Argentina-style food truck Piaggo on Wheels with its signature empanadas or twists on old favorites like the Home skillet Truck with its sweet potato fries dusted in cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
You can typically find these trucks and many other fantastic food trucks at the Los Alamitos food truck event on Thursday nights in the US Bank lot and St. Isidore Historic Plaza on Katella Ave. Food truck meet-ups like these are not just a place for trucks to park, but rather an event where people gather to share their common love for great food. If you ask me, traditional restaurants are never going to be able to capture that unexplainable quality that makes eating off a food truck a fun and worthwhile experience. So, next time you see a brightly painted catering truck with some off beat logo on the side of it, follow it to wherever it goes. There, you will find a meal and a memory that you will never forget.
The Los Alamitos food truck event takes place every Thursday night in the US Bank parking lot from 5:00PM-9:00PM. We try to go as often as possible as we can always expect a truly memorable meal!