Food Trucks

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Viktor Vaughn
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Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » February 4th, 2013, 2:28 pm

There was some discussion about whether food trucks are paying their fair share or have unfair advantages in an unrelated thread.

The number of food trucks has risen rapidly in the three years since they’ve been allowed in Minneapolis. To my knowledge five businesses started as food trucks and have since opened (or are working on opening) bricks and mortar locations: Foxy Falafel, Turkey To-go, World Street Kitchen, Smack Shack (any day now…), and Gastrotruck. I suspect that we will continue to see food trucks expand into restaurants. Also, I wonder if neighborhood restaurants will use the food trucks as a stepping stone into the downtown market. Northeast establishments such as Mayslacks, Anchor Fish & Chips, & Stanley’s opened food trucks that serve the downtown office rush. I would bet these types of restaurants would open a downtown location once they get the DT office workers hooked on their fare. A bricks & mortar location would allow them to serve more customers year-round.

I mostly wanted to start a food truck thread to share this excellent Jon Tevlin column, In downtown lunch wars, it's skyways vs. food trucks. Apparently the food truck owners have formed the ‘Minnesota Food Truck Association’ to fight for their interests.
Here are a couple choice quotes from the article. wrote: Doug Sams says some restaurateurs feel the trucks have "hijacked" some of their customers, costing them as much as 30 percent of their summer traffic.

So this is what happens when the goat belly and ox tongue people bump up against the bread bowl and MSG buffet people. A culinary clash.

"I understand the fear-based reasoning, because this business has been taking it in the shorts," said food czar Andrew Zimmern, the famous "Bizarre Foods" face behind AZ Canteen. "But the fact is, half the restaurants in the skyway are serving some of the worst food in the city. They are coasting on convenience."

"The only restaurants that should be worried about food trucks are bad ones," said Zimmern. "They are already dead, they just don't know it yet."

ezdayman

Re: Food Trucks

Postby ezdayman » February 4th, 2013, 2:43 pm

Who cares... they were the smart ones to do so.. there all over everywhere in america.. its not a new concept just something new to minneapolis.. and minnesota people hate change.. I like them.. give me a change to try something different.. i get to sit out side at a park i would normlay not sit at. gives me a chance to try something i prob wouldnt order in a sit down.. resturants i love the idea.. And so far a few have been great and even have opeend there own brick resturant...:~) more jobs more choices i like!

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 24th, 2013, 12:49 pm

Those dastardly food trucks strike again!

CBS Local is reporting today that three downtown restaurants have closed with a fourth to announce their closing on Friday. The three are: Peter’s Grill (as reported a month ago), Taco John’s (oh no – now where are we going to get pretend-food masquerading as Tex Mex?! …besides Taco Bell across the street), and German hotdog (whatever that is).

All three owners blame those business-stealing food trucks.
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/07/2 ... od-trucks/

The most notable closing is Peter’s Grill, which was an institution in downtown Minneapolis for 99 years. I’m pretty sure that place was mostly empty at lunch long before the food trucks came to town, but owner Peter squarely blamed the demise on food trucks anyhow.

A Peter’s Grill waitress was quoted in a Star Tribune article about the closing last month (quotes since edited out, apparently, so I’m paraphrasing) The waitress said she’s been telling Peter for years that they needed to advertise or somehow get more people in the door. Peter said, “What are you talking about, everybody knows about Peter’s Grill,” to which the waitress replied, “yeah, but most of them are dead.”

As sad as it to see a relic of a bygone era close down, I think it’s safe to say they closed because they were operating with a business model from a bygone era, not because of food trucks.

As it turns out, Peter’s Grill was started as a humble fruit stand a century ago. So how great is that? A recent immigrant was able to leverage a low-overhead fruit stand on the street into a longtime institution of a downtown restaurant, visited by a US President and multiple generations of regular folks alike.

So with that, I’d like to propose a toast –

[*Please raise your locally-sourced roots salad with a side of portabella mushroom fries and homemade hibiscus soda*]

May your favorite humble food truck grow to a become a downtown institution that last 99 years.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby FISHMANPET » July 24th, 2013, 12:52 pm

I was a little sad that Peter's was closing because I'd never been there and I knew it was a bit of an institution, also we share a name.

Then I looked at the menu which clearly hadn't been updated in 50 years and I was OK with it closing.

MNdible
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby MNdible » July 24th, 2013, 1:11 pm

How long will it take people to realize that waiting in line for 15 minutes at a food truck, paying $12 for a sandwich, and then having no place to sit isn't such a great way to spend their lunch hour?

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 24th, 2013, 1:50 pm

MNdible wrote:How long will it take people to realize that waiting in line for 15 minutes at a food truck, paying $12 for a sandwich, and then having no place to sit isn't such a great way to spend their lunch hour?
I suppose as more people realize that, the lines won't be so long and the problem will self-correct.

RailBaronYarr
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby RailBaronYarr » July 24th, 2013, 2:47 pm

I'm not sure I've seen many food trucks with $12 sandwiches. Most are $6-7 for any main entree, plus drink. Having nowhere to sit is an indictment of our public spaces, not the food trucks. Also, how long does one usually wait in line for food in skyway restaurants or fast food places?

mattaudio
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby mattaudio » July 24th, 2013, 2:52 pm

Indeed. DT is home of the 100 person deep line at Chipotle or Cosi.

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Nick
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Nick » July 24th, 2013, 3:21 pm

MNdible wrote:How long will it take people to realize that waiting in line for 15 minutes at a food truck, paying $12 for a sandwich, and then having no place to sit isn't such a great way to spend their lunch hour?
I would like to echo this cranky old man sentiment and add that mankind didn't invent civilization for me to eat outside off a paper plate with no furniture. Trends have been downhill since Pokemon.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 24th, 2013, 3:46 pm

Reminds me of the ads My Burger has been running on the street level windows along Marquette where the food trucks line up. I took a picture, but the glare was pretty bad, so I'll just transcribe it here.


MY BURGER

SORRY, WE HAVE NO WINDSHIELD WIPERS TO CLEAR THE BUGS. OH WAIT...NO BUGS!

Come experience what our ancesters fought for:
Indoor dining!

6QUEBEC IN THE SKYWAY
(Happiness is only an elevator ride away)

ECtransplant
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby ECtransplant » July 24th, 2013, 3:52 pm

Wait are people here now suggesting that people not leave their skyway enclave venturing onto the street?

mattaudio
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby mattaudio » July 24th, 2013, 3:53 pm

I bet they do a lot better than the whiners.

MNdible
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby MNdible » July 24th, 2013, 4:01 pm

It wasn't too long ago that Pokemon was as white-hot of a trend as food trucks are currently.

I certainly don't begrudge people wanting to get outside on a beautiful summer day, but the OMG FOOD TRUCKS seems to be a bit of an overreaction.

EDIT: Also, get off my lawn.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 24th, 2013, 4:09 pm

My ideal meal may be a trout filet fried up on a campfire eaten sitting on a log somewhere in the wilderness, so any alleged bugs downtown, or lack of chairs, will go unnoticed.

Whether I stop at a food truck or a skyway place, most of my lunches are eaten in my office anyways, so the availability of tables is generally not relevant. Given that the majority takes their lunch to-go even at places that kindly offer tables and chairs; I know I'm not alone here.

If I do feel like I have the time to sit down and eat lunch somewhere, and it's not sleeting, then I'll gladly sit outside.

I have an unsubstantiated medical theory that our ancestors were correct. People are meant to be outside. We drug our kids because they can't sit still inside all day, but it turns out if you let them roam free-range outdoors, pharmaceuticals are unnecessary.

At least that's how it works for me. I'm happy when I get outdoors, in all seasons, so bring on the fuckin bugs.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » July 24th, 2013, 4:21 pm

MNdible wrote:I certainly don't begrudge people wanting to get outside on a beautiful summer day, but the OMG FOOD TRUCKS seems to be a bit of an overreaction.
It's an overreaction. There will be boring food trucks going out of business soon. The good ones get long lines, and some get very little business. Seems like some of the worst from years past are already gone. Has anyone seen the "Golden Tummy" driving around? It was probably just painted with the next concept.

Yet the food trucks are here to say. The biggest overreaction is from the incumbents who want to regulate away the competition rather then competing.

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Nathan
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Nathan » July 24th, 2013, 5:08 pm

I sometimes take a long lunch from my work in Plymouth and meet up with friends who work in DT so that I can try food trucks they say are great. They are fun, have creative food, are often chef driven, and can produce better product for less because of lower overheads. Fantastic. I don't do that for skyway food. Also, it's a great break in my day to be able to go find a place to sit and eat in the city I love. But I can see how some might need a more rigid dining experience ;)

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Re: Food Trucks

Postby twincitizen » July 24th, 2013, 6:06 pm

Perhaps the competition from food trucks will draw some of the skyway level restaurants down to the street level where they belong, with doors that open to the sidewalk, or at least to the building lobby.

I'd call that a win-win. My 2¢ to the "skyways r bad" thing: Skyways themselves are not the problem. 2nd-floor retail/restaurants are the problem.

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Nick
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Nick » July 24th, 2013, 7:14 pm

To be clear, I don't think there's anything wrong with the food trucks, I got nachos from the Stanley's one at the Beer Dabbler this past weekend. It's just that from day one it was one of those things that you could tell you were going to have to listen to everyone you know overrate them for a few years, and it was like alllllll right gang...why aren't you still into cupcakes?

P.S. I'm absolutely turning into this guy.

Tyler
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Tyler » July 26th, 2013, 3:11 pm

Couldn't disagree more about the food trucks being "overrated." At least in the context of downtown lunch options. Now, on a nice day in the summer, the 10 best places for lunch are all outside. Brothers Deli and Trieste Cafe are probably the only non-truck options in the top 20.
Towns!

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: Food Trucks

Postby Viktor Vaughn » October 31st, 2013, 10:00 am

Chef Shack will be opening a retail location in Seward.

http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2013/10 ... seward.php

By my count they'll be the 8th local food truck to go bricks & mortar.

Smack Shack, Turkey-to-go, World Street Kitchen, Potters Pasties, Sushi Fix, Foxy Falafel, Gastrotruck (if they ever open), and now Chef Shack. Who am I missing?


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