Food Trucks Roundup Expands to Benjamin Plumbing Parking Lot

January 4, 2012

By Teya Vitu

The fourth Food Truck Roundup is set for January 9 from 5 to 9 p.m.

MaFooCo plans to be back for the next Food Truck Roundup.

The first three were so popular that organizer David Aguirre is moving the mobile feast to the Benjamin Plumbing Supply parking lot at Sixth Street and Seventh Avenue, just across the railroad tracks from Dinnerware Artspace.

Half the parking lot will contain the Food Truck Roundup and the other half will be available for parking.

“The move is about needing more space,” said Aguirre, Dinnerware’s executive director.

The new location will likely increase attendance, too, as the roundup will be clearly evident to traffic driving by on Sixth Street.

Each roundup is adding new food trucks, with the first Phoenix truck making the drive down on January 9. Each roundup also attracts people scouting the scene in anticipation of launching their own food trucks.

The food truck lineup so far is:

• Guero Loco’s Bubba-Que

• The Patty Wagon

• Animal Farm

• Mafooco

• Robdogs

• Jamie’s Bitchin’ Kitchen

• Cyclopsicle

• Seis Curbside Kitchen

• Pin Up Pastries

• Street Delights

• Stolen Recipe BBQ• Vero Amore• Trucking Good Cupcakes

• K-Bork Tacos y Gorditas

• Planet of the Crepes

• Ni Hao Amigos

• From Phoenix: Luncha Libre

This being a mobile operation, do keep tabs on the Tucson Food Trucks Facebook page for truck updates and, more importantly, date changes if weather proves too challenging.

This time there will not be the comfort of the Dinnerware gallery for indoor dining. The tables will be set up in the parking lot. Aguirre envisions possibly having the food trucks circle around the dining area.

“That’s the general starting concept,” Aguirre said. “Or we’ll have a batch of trucks along Sixth Street. It’s going to be outdoors for sure. We are going to have a stage with music and an arts table for kids.”

The Food Truck Roundups fall in line with the broad variety of arts Aguirre wants Dinnerware to represent and offer in workshops. Culinary arts fall right in line with visual arts, photography or ceramics.

As circumstances are, these Food Truck Roundups pretty much are workshops in action as most of these gourmet trucks only started rolling one to three months ago.

Rich Park debuted his Güero Loco’s Bubba-Que at the December 5 Food Truck Roundup.

“It was my very first day,” Park said. “It was very overwhelming. I was hit with a line from here to Egypt. I didn’t look up for two hours. The second one I came in a little better prepared. Now I have a little system going.”

Smoked pulled pork is Park’s specialty, and the Hawaiian tacos and pulled pork sliders are his biggest draws.

“I enjoy the people. The people are very personable,” Park said about the roundups. “I think it’s a great movement. All the truck owners take great pride in what they produce.”

The Tucson Food Trucks movement is following the gourmet truck movements that have flowered in just the past few years in places like Los Angeles and Portland. Like in those cities, these food trucks go quite a bit beyond your typical taco or Sonoran hot dog truck.

Tucson’s lineup includes Caribbean cuisine, cupcakes, Korean tacos and quesadillas, barbecue and other delightful treats.

“A lot of the food truck people have day jobs,” Aguirre said. “Food Trucks strive to be innovative and creative.”
Aguirre said the new location, in particular, will make this Food Truck Roundup especially family friendly. There will be arts activities for kids.

“I was at a local restaurant last week,” he said. “There were people with kids and they were crawling over everything. I think there is a need for space for families. Some people may not have kids but they have pets. They can bring the whole zoo to the Roundup.”

The first three Food Truck Roundups were November 15, December 5 and December 20 in the tiny dirt parking area at Dinnerware. Future roundups could head to other parts of town, in part because Aguirre wants to spread the arts beyond Downtown.

Aguirre is pondering bringing the food trucks to the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Reid Park Zoo. At any rate, the first three Roundups encouraged Aguirre to make them a regular offering.

“I’m thinking once a month,” he said. “I can easily see getting into twice a month. Maybe take the show on the road and bring arts and music to other areas.”