- Mark Lee
- Indy loves food trucks; the nascent industry has captured the imagination — and appetite — of the entire city.
"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 An initial issue regarding an outdated law that restricted nighttime hours appears to be on its way to resolution in the food trucks' favor.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 one.
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: