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SA’s Food Truck Parks Can Be Havens or Headaches (or Both)

Photo: ESSENTIALS210, License: N/A

ESSENTIALS210

Chela’s Tacos takes up temporary residence at The Block, a park catering to the UTSA main campus crowd

Photo: RICO GOMEZ, License: N/A

RICO GOMEZ

A selection of trucks at a recent Boardwalk on Bulverde event

Photo: FILE PHOTO, License: N/A

FILE PHOTO

Cameron Davies, of Boardwalk on Bulverde, at his truck outfitting biz Cruising Kitchens



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Three years ago, food trucks were but a pipe dream for would-be restaurateurs who sought a lower overhead than that of a brick-and-mortar eatery. Even as trucks afforded owners mobility and a buzzy hook, it’s not been the easiest of roads to navigate: ancient city ordinances and insane South Texas weather are just some of the road blocks forcing mobile kitchens to take a detour since 2010.

Enter food truck parks. Hitching posts such as Boardwalk on Bulverde, The Point Park & Eats, Alamo Street Eat Bar and The Block have provided local rolling restaurants with more stability so long as both parties put some skin in the game. But security isn’t always guaranteed. A perfect example of the precariousness of the courts is the 281 Food Park, located five miles north of the 1604 and 281 interchange, which went through a litany of owners and versions before finally shutting down earlier this year.

What motivates an owner to turn a lot into a smorgasbord of tiny eateries? Whether it’s joining the mobile food movement, taking entrepreneurial baby steps, safeguarding a neighborhood or providing a base location for newbie trucks, each local owner has a goal as varied as their tenants’ menus.

The Creator

There’s no food truck park discussion without mentioning the Boardwalk on Bulverde (14732 Bulverde). As the first established park in San Antonio, the Boardwalk, or BOB, has been somewhat of a guinea pig location for food truck owners and competing park operators.

The Boardwalk, owned and operated by Cameron Davies, held its soft opening in late December 2010 with a smattering of trucks including Bistro Six (which has since abandoned its wheels to open Knife & Fork Gastropub), DUK Truck, G&G Mobile Bistro (closed as of early 2011), K-Hill BBQ Company, Saweet Cupcakes (which has had two different owners since opening), Tin Can Tacos (gone the way of the Dodo) and Wheelie Gourmet.

Davies also owns Cruising Kitchens, which has played an essential role in refurbishing food trucks in San Antonio and across Texas, so it only made sense for him to provide a place for trucks to dip a wheel in the mobile kitchen pool.

“We built the park with our hands, and we had the background [because of Cruising Kitchens], so we knew what the trucks would need to operate,” Davies said while admitting there’s been a bit of a learning curve. “It’s an ongoing challenge to figure out layout for trucks to come in and out, how to power the trucks and visibility.”

One of Davies’ biggest struggles has been figuring out electricity requirements for said trucks, some of which are sizably bigger than those built three years ago. This has led Davies and co. to install a new electric panel at the park. According to Davies, renting a space at BOB will run $500 with an additional $50 per month to plug into the park’s electricity (which helps stave off generator use for the trucks).

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