Last year, when I moved to this small town, the first thing I did was connect to the city’s social media sites. I get alerts for craft fairs, road closings, and free events. When “Food Truck Friday” popped up on my Facebook feed, I raced over.
Salivating, I drove to the park to find . . . One food truck. Chubby’s Burgers. It wasn’t even a big truck. More like a little wagon. A family carried some burgers to their car. Apparently, they’d heard about Food Truck Friday, too.
I thought I had missed the event, arrived too early or something. That evening I checked the Facebook page, and there was a comment. “Thank you, Chubby’s Burgers.” I guess that was it.
In my mind, it would be something like the food vending area at a carnival. I love fair food, no matter how fattening and overpriced it is.
Recently I visited Temple University in Philadelphia with my daughter and son-in-law. Giant food trucks fill several city blocks. They appear to be semi-permanent structures, serving every kind of food. Burger Tank, York Halal Gyro, Gourmet Indian Cuisine, and Richie’s Lunch Box, to name a few.
My daughter’s friend ate at the trucks every day. She had only recently learned that the campus had cafeterias too. Why eat inside when there’s a food truck? She gave us tips about where to find the best cuisine.
What’s with the popularity of food trucks anyway? Isn’t that going backward in the evolution of restaurants? Soon, everyone will want to eat burritos out of the back of someone’s beat-up van. Oh . . . Wait. . . I did that once. In a small Texas town as I rode the Greyhound bus cross country. It’s sort of a Greyhound rite of passage.
We reject the clean permanent structures called restaurants in favor of an unknown truck, wagon, tent, or whatever. I think it’s because we secretly (or not so secretly) would rather be at a fair or carnival than living our regular life. . . Or maybe because they don’t post the calories on the menu like all the permanent restaurants have to.
When I got bored with my office job in “Cubeville”, I daydreamed about running a curly fried potato chip truck on the fair circuit. A new city every few days. A fun atmosphere. Freedom.
Slowly, the food trucks are turning back into restaurants. They get bigger and bigger. The ones at Temple University plug into city electricity and never move. They are a sizeable investment and governments monitor their cleanliness. The streets are wide enough to have 2 lanes but, with the trucks permanently parked, they become one-way roads. But at least they don’t have to pay rent, right?
Food Truck Friday turns an ordinary day into a fun event. More trucks have shown up in my town on other Fridays. Long John Silvers, Wise Pies Pizza, and others. My favorite is when the Native American frybread lady shows up. Love me some hot frybread with honey.
I guess we are all looking for a little adventure. I just need to set realistic expectations for my small town. Thank you, Chubby’s Burgers for showing up.