In most cities, you can’t just park your food truck on the street in front of a business. You will be expected to apply to the transportation department to make sure that the space where you hope to operate meets local guidelines such as not obstructing traffic or taking up precious retail parking.
Some spots have already been vetted and approved while others will require you to take initiative and petition for their use.
What is a Food Truck Park?
A food truck park, or pod, is a space that attracts a community of food trucks and carts, and also customers eager to try out different food options, and provides an area with eating amenities such as tables, tents, and bathrooms. Rental rates for a food truck park are more or less around $500 to $1,000 per month and these parks offer space on a daily basis as well.
Advocates of food truck parks note that these parks can boost neighborhoods, attract business to little-visited areas and offer dining options where there once were few.
Since trucks have much lower start-up costs than brick and mortar restaurants, they are a way for new chefs to establish themselves in the community. And these food truck parks stand to make a major impact on the way Americans eat.
Austin, Texas appears to be the epicenter of food truck parks. Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas-Fort Worth, Columbus, and Portland-Salem, Oregon are popular sites for these gastronomical venues. Nonetheless, here are the top food truck parks in the United States.
Best Food Truck Park
Columbia Food Park
Now boasting a commercial kitchen, two vendors, and room to grow, this food park is excitedly on its way. The vision for downtown Vancouver’s Columbia Food Park has always been clear: transform the abandoned bus station waiting for area on Seventh Street into an outdoor food destination and community hangout.
It’s taken years of slow and difficult work, but in recent years this park had hit an important milestone on the road to turning the vision into a reality.
Located along Barton Springs’ restaurant row, The Picnic has its own parking lot and shaded seating areas with ceiling fans.
The Mighty Cone is the most well-known food truck in the group. The Hot ’n Crunchy Chicken cone became a big hit at the Austin City Limits Music Festival a few years ago, and several Mighty Cone food trucks have popped around town since.
Clearfork Good Park
The brain behind this popular food park is Daniel D. Corder. With a passion for food and deep Caribbean roots, Corder was eager to start a food truck that serves only Caribbean-style dishes. Founded over a decade ago, Clearfork Food Park has served hundreds of thousands of customers both from the community and visitors.
South Congress Food Truck Park
There was a time when South Congress was home to dozens of food trucks on large lots. There are still quite a few, but now they are tucked into small lots and side streets due to encroaching development.
There are a few tables made with brightly colored umbrellas at this jam-packed food truck park on South Congress, but parking is hard to find in this part of town. The whimsical décor of the trailer, the park, and the cupcakes make this a cheerful spot for all ages.
If you like science and ice cream, or just ice cream, don’t miss The Science Cream trailer, which serves liquid nitrogen ice cream. Note that as they make your ice cream, the liquid nitrogen emits a fog, making the experience seem like a fun science project. The other trailers on site include Pitalicious and Parisian Crepes.
The Atlanta Food Truck Park & Event Center
Located in a lot just off of I-75 on Howell Mill Road, the Atlanta Food Truck Park offers a rotating array of mobile kitchens throughout the week.
This is an everyday place to come together as a community and experience food and drink, browse local art, pick up local fresh produce, have a picnic with family, laugh with your co-workers, throw the frisbee, play bocce ball, and pick out your Christmas tree or pumpkins.
They have rehabilitated an old hotel site that has been sitting vacant and is a key piece of property within the community. The site will evolve with the seasons and provide a place for you and your family to enjoy. The site has almost 3 acres with plenty of parking and plenty of green space and plenty to experience.
Mueller Trailer Eats
Situated near the old hangar in Lake Park, Mueller Trailer Eats boasts of several shaded park benches and a small parking lot. The must-have delicacy at this food truck park can be found at mmmpanadas. Yes, that is really the name.
Don’t miss the soy chorizo and black bean empanadas. Consider the chicken chile verde with chipotle mayo. You can easily make a meal out of only one of these overstuffed pastries. If it’s comfort food you are seeking, proceed directly to the Gravy food truck. You can get several varieties of biscuits and gravy as well as full breakfast plates and breakfast sandwiches.
Lubbock’s Art District Food Truck Park
Downtown is Lubbock’s Art District, which is the stuff around the LHUCA and the Charles Adams Studio Project, near 5th and Avenue J. Every Friday, they have food trucks lined up for lunch. Lubbock’s food truck scene is growing really fast.
Each Friday, you can expect a bunch of different food trucks with all kinds of eats to make everybody happy. Trucks from Chopped and Sliced BBQ, La Picosita, Blue Oasis, Llano Cubano, Urban Fixx, Angel Star, The Stand, and more make appearances.
With about 10 trailers, a playscape, and plenty of parking, 5000 Burnet is one of the most family-friendly food truck parks in Austin.
The Big Kahuna is a big draw here, featuring Hawaiian-influenced food ranging from burgers to blackened tilapia fish tacos with Maui coleslaw and papaya salsa. If you are looking for spicy Asian food, check out Watzab Thai Food or The B’s Kitchen for Vietnamese fare.
For something completely different, Taco Sweets makes ice cream waffle cones shaped like tacos. Note that the most popular creation is a waffle taco filled with chocolate ice cream and Nutella and drizzled with white chocolate.
Understanding where food trucks are most profitable and educating yourself on how pioneers of the modern food truck craze achieved success primes your food truck business for a lucrative future. Leverage this guide above to launch your food truck business with open eyes.