Thoughts for Thursday, on Friday. Like many in the US, Hurricane Sandy, threw me off the first half of this week. Thank you for your understanding for the delay. Fortunately for me, life is back to normal, for so many others, normal is a long time coming. I wish you strength and hope during this time and in during the recovery process; my thoughts are with you.
When I left for Columbus, Ohio last October to serve a year with AmeriCorps from Rhode Island, food trucks were very new to me. I hadn’t eaten at any, and the Food Network had yet to air the second season of the Great Food Truck Race. I had thoroughly enjoyed watching the first. I honestly don’t know how many, or if any, food trucks were based in Providence, RI or in the entire state of Rhode Island.
When I got to Columbus, food trucks were everywhere. My first roommate in the house I rented a room in operated a food truck. I learned a lot about the long hours that varied with the events happening around the area. His truck, which only lasted a season, traveled to special weekend events, rotated to a number of places during the lunch hour, and had a set dinner location at a local store that served beverages on the condition that the truck couldn’t sell drinks to ferry customers inside. I thought it was a great way of two community establishments working together for their benefit, and for the benefit of patrons’ stomachs. One Facebook respondent mentioned that a church in her community had “Truckin’ Tuesdays” which, she wrote, “fulfills many purposes: outreach and awareness for the church, a neat place for downtown workers to eat, and a sanctioned place to park and the promise of customers for the truck owners.” She called it a “win-win-win,” and I agree.
My first experience with eating from a food truck was Tatoheads at a Halloween Event at the Ohio Village. Delish! Gourmet french fries are right up my alley; I love potatoes. That experience was quickly followed the next week by the Second Annual Food Truck Festival in the Ohio Village sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society. I was introduced to many new trucks, and I got to try my roommates truck Hot Pita as well as a handful of others. I learned that a well publicized food truck event has the potential to draw a lot of people, unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and that is one thing food trucks really rely on – good weather. Without it the people don’t come out in as great of numbers. That is one reason why many trucks pack up for the winter, the income just doesn’t match up with the expenses.
Columbus saw a mild winter, and a number of trucks continued operating through the season. They branched out and went to out of the way businesses for lunch, including the Ohio History Center, where I was based for my AmeriCorps service. I was so excited when I would get an email announcing that one would be around for lunch; I wasn’t the only one. I think we were all grateful as the closest places for food were primarily fast food establishments (there were only an assortment of vending machines inside the museum), and when you all of a sudden have an option of eating a gyro, it’s a good thing. Trucks that came to OHS would sell out of certain things by the end of their two hour stay. I also got to meet many people outside of my department while waiting for food, and I consider that to be a morale booster and one way to develop stronger ties between individuals within the institution. I’m not the only one who sees this happening; The History Tourist commented last week about trucks going to her workplace too and providing an alternative to bricks and mortar establishments.
I’m realizing that I can go on much longer about this topic, but in an effort to not make this post any longer, expect a Part 2 next Thursday (really Thursday this time).