While visiting California and New York a few times over the past two years, I became obsessed and curious with the food trucks that I saw on the street corners while being a typical tourist. Usually when you think of getting food off the street you think of hotdogs, hamburgers, peanuts, and pretzels. I found that these food trucks sold similar items and parked around busy construction sites so that the workers had a quick and convenient option for lunch. Food trucks are not just for constructions sites anymore. Food truck vendors are popular in cities like LA, NYC, Portland, San Diego, Atlanta and D.C and they now offer all different types of cuisines. What’s not to love about established restaurants in busy cities extending their business to the roads- taking their chefs to customers?
With the rise of social media marketing, these trucks don’t have to spend tons of money on marketing their yummy grub and whereabouts. Twitter and Facebook informs followers where trucks are at all times and any specials they might have that day. Another free marketing outlet is Mobi Munch (www.mobimunch.com). It’s the nation’s first mobile food service company and online marketing channel dedicated to providing established chefs and restaurateurs an integrated online and offline platform for launching innovative restaurant concepts aboard state-of-the-art food trucks. On the website and iPhone application you can track trucks in over 50 cities around the United States.
Being an owner of an iPhone, an avid Facebook and Twitter user and a food frenzy freak, I recently discovered the local food truck phenomenon developing in Baltimore. There are currently about ten food trucks in the Baltimore area that serve anywhere from gourmet burgers, savory and sweet crepes, soups and salads, delicious deserts, overstuffed burritos, and everything in between. All of them have their own Facebook and Twitter page to promote their fabulous food and offerings. Below are the current food trucks and their Twitter page:
- Curbside Café (@Curbside_Cafe)
- Miss Shirleys (@missshirleys)
- Creperie Breizh (@CreperieBreizh)
- Souper Freaks (@SouperFreaky)
- Koopers Chowhound (@BRGRWagon)
- Iced Gem Baking (@icedgemsbaking)
- Dangerously Delicious Pies (@BaltoPieTruck)
- Gypsy Queen Truck (@thegypsytruck)
- Juana Burrito (@juanaburrito)
- GrrChe (@GrrChe)
On June 1, 2011, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced a program that encourages food truck vending in Baltimore. There are now five designated “Food Truck Zones” in certain areas that the food truck vendors are able to park and operate their business; most of them located in Downtown Baltimore. Don’t be discouraged county residents, there is talk that the trucks are going to start heading north of the city line and some of them already have. Other popular areas that the food trucks venture to are Hopkins Hospital, Hampden, Locust Point, Mt. Vernon, U of MD Medical Center, and Canton. Mayor Rawlings-Blake states, “Baltimore’s food trucks are a unique extension of our diverse local restaurant industry. We must ensure that existing operations are able to thrive and new food truck ventures are encouraged to start.”
After my experience this past Saturday while checking out The Gypsy Queen Truck in Patterson Park, I cannot wait to visit each and every food truck over the next few months. I shared the famous Chubby Burger and the Crab Cake Tacos, which I highly suggest. The chef’s were very friendly and the service was great.
I’m excited that the food truck trend has started in Baltimore – it offers a unique dining option featuring young chefs with lots of energy and passion for food! So, if you’re feeling frisky and want to test your taste buds, be sure to visit their Twitter or Facebook pages.