"Being out on the street,
meeting the public on a regular basis – that is one of the great
rewards." Chef Becky Hostetter of the Duos food truck speaks for virtually all
the operators in Indianapolis' burgeoning food truck movement when she talks
about the pleasure she finds in serving food from a roving kitchen.
But interaction with the public
is turning out to be just one of the advantages afforded by food trucks.
Relatively low start-up costs compared with regular restaurants, menu
flexibility and the ability to go where the customers are, not to mention the
ability to self-promote via social networking technologies like Facebook and
Twitter, have all played a part in the trucks' success so far.
And I did mention that people are crazy about them?
Indianapolis has embraced the
food truck experience with gusto. Hungry folks seem happy to have an option that
falls somewhere between franchise fast food and a sit-down experience in a cafe
or restaurant. Food trucks offer an alternative that's fast, but handmade and
fresh, for a reasonable price.
The dishes run a gamut in terms
of imagination and complexity, from the essential street food of tacos and
pizza, to creative vegetarian delights and brilliantly rendered desserts.
The city has also gotten on
board. An initial issue regarding an outdated law that restricted nighttime
hours appears to be on its way to resolution in the food trucks' favor. And so
far, at least, the number of local food trucks hasn't grown so large as to pose
a threat to more conventional restaurateurs.
Then there's the Super Bowl. In
the city's rush to make sure there are enough hotel rooms to accommodate the
horde of corporate football fans expected to descend on our downtown in
February, it seems the fact that we have only so many restaurant tables
available in the Mile Square was somehow overlooked.
Food trucks to the rescue! Like
the Seventh Cavalry charging in to save the day, food trucks are now expected
to play a significant part in catering to Super Bowl fans, which promises to
not only provide a valuable service on behalf of the city, but a potential
windfall for food truck operators.
A win-win, if ever there was
Editors' note: Some weeks ago we started a "Food Truck Friday" series for your delectation and delight. Check out the following links to see your favorite food truck, and check back regularly or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for new profiles added weekly: