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Let’s Discuss: Street Food Trucks in Dallas

Would you buy lunch from this truck?
Would you buy lunch from this truck?

We’ve talked about street food trucks before but I’d really like to get your opinion on whether or not they would work in Dallas. Here is a link to some that are running around Manhattan. Basically a  hopefully funky catering truck tweets their time and location so you know when they are in your area. Now that I am working downtown, I can see how a street food truck zooming around down here might make sense (cents?). Outside of downtown?  I’m not so sure. Big Gay Ice Cream Truck?  Yes, please. Rickshaw Dumpling Truck? You bet.  Maximus/Minimus? Puhleeese! Now, how can we get this rolling in Dallas?

  • Vann

    I’m of the school of thought that you need density on a level we don’t have here. even downtown. there’s not enough concentration to make it profitable.

  • Meredith

    it would be great to have some food trucks rolling around. downtown is getting busier, uptown could support them, and smu at about 2:30 am would be a great hot spot for any truck to hit. i think this could work.

  • Foodie Wannabe

    I think one or two could do it on the weekend – LATE night around the uptown/downtown bars & clubs. Please tell me where I can go once I stumble out of Aura or Lotus for a late nite bite that is within walking distance. I do not want to drive through Jack in the Box or Taco Cabana!
    They also would be fun and different around the downtown area for lunch.

  • Cynthia S.

    I’m with @Vann. Outside of Downtown, there’s not enough foot traffic to make these viable.

  • Kelly @ EvilShenanigans

    In San Francisco they have a vibrant food truck scene. The best, IMHO, is the Roli Roti. It is a rotisserie truck that serves porchetta sandwiches, pigs knuckle (OMG … that is so good), and roast pork loin sandwiches on fresh baked rolls. They are addictive and I would think something like that could be a success. That said, San Francisco has a much more pedestrian oriented downtown and entertainment district which makes something like a food truck a fantastic dining option. Dallas really does not have that kind of pedestrian oriented entertainment area. I’m not sure a food truck would survive on the backs of the drunk snack crowd at 2:00 am.

  • Ali

    Food truck in Dallas…a thought that has crossed my mind many times since I moved here from NY in October. Question is, what kinds of laws does the city (and state) have that would affect a food truck vendor?

  • Jen

    I was under the impression that there is a city ordinanace prohibiting food trucks in Dallas. I feel like this discussion came up a few years ago because of a Gourmet or Food and Wine article about popular cities for food trucks. It works in Houston and Austin and I’ve love to see them here.

  • Amy S

    Food trucks can get a license in Dallas – they are all over Dallas servicing the houses under construction. I’ve even seen a University Park license on one of them.

    I’ve thought for some time that it would be a low-capital way to begin your own restaurant. It wouldn’t need the late night crowd if it was in the right location for a brisk breakfast and lunch crowd.

  • Brent D.

    I’ve been in Austin all this week eating only from trucks/trailers/carts. Everything has been incredible, varied and inexpensive. I’ve found awesome Thai as far as 10 miles south of downtown and fresh sushi 10 miles north, tons of other unique offerings between.

    I agree with Ali, there’s got to be some differences in city/county regs that makes it a bigger challenge in Dallas.

    Then there’s always that “roach-coach” mentality.

    For your listening pleasure:

  • Just J

    Love it! And cute girls hanging off the back? Even better. Hooters on wheels, now that’s ideal! If it were allowable to sell margaritas along with the food, you could be successful with your meals on wheels endeavor ANYWHERE in the DFW area. Good looks+alochol+edible (not necessarily great) food+convenience=staying power

  • Irodguy

    Wow now you are talking some of those hot dog carts with the girls in skimpy bikinis like in Boca and West Palm Florida. Oh wait a minute think they actually outlawed them their, caused to many fatality accidents.

  • Scott

    Well for those that I see are interested in a food truck business, we moved here from KC and have a truck for sale. Feel free to contact me.

  • Twinwillow

    My biggest problem with food trucks is, there’s not enough of them.
    In Austin, it seems like they’re on every street corner. And, each one is better than the next.
    C’mon Dallas, get with it!

  • Laura

    For everyone who says that Dallas doesn’t have the density, I think if 3,000 person Marfa, Texas can support a food truck, Dallas certainly can:

  • A. B.

    I don’t think they are allowed. The trucks you see for the construction crews pretty much sell pre-packaged food, not food that is cooked in the truck. Plus there is zoning about whether you can cook/serve food from a truck on public property. Here is info on ‘mobile food facilities’:

  • Brent D.

    You’re correct A.B. Reading the regs, the City of Dallas just isn’t friendly to prepared-to-order mobile food operations. Most of Austin’s seem to be less than mobile though.

    Maybe they fall under different regs?

  • sausage on a stick

    Mayor Tom, get off your duff and do something real for the city of Dallas! Imagine what a success it will be for the blue haired conventioneers-they can puree their blue plate special when they get hungry for dinner @ 3 p.m.

  • Jeff M

    Stood in line for 30 minutes in LA waiting for the Korean BBQ food truck. It was just parked on a street (outside Google in Santa Monica) that looked like any street in Dallas, so I don’t think that’s an issue. The good ones have schedules online, so people know where to go and when.

    The issue is probably Dallas’ stupid regulations and bizarre enforcement (or lack thereof). Why can illegally run bars continue to do business in Lower Greenville, but local farmers markets and such are quickly shut down? Crazytown.

  • Icing & Aprons

    I used to live around Austin & the food trucks/carts brought new life to the scene. I think it would give a great energy to Dallas and soften the stuffiness. Maybe it would inspire people to walk around the city and enjoy the day more…while they eat their food To-Go. The only concern is obviously the ‘litter/trash’ that might be a problem, but I’m sure there are ways to keep that under control…Austin does. I’ll park a cupcake Truck and gladly hand out sweets all day long…that’s the life.

  • Twinwillow

    We need to vote out the mayor and all the rest of those sleazy, corrupt Neaderthals sitting (or snoozing) on the city council. Just when is Dallas ever going to be the real world class city that it needs to be?

  • Jonas

    Moving from the Bay Area where I have run my own little road-based business, aka food truck, I can say this with a certain authority backed by experience – both financing and licensing for such an enterprise is PAINFUL in Dallas.

    I’ve done the same in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and LA in the past ten years, usually just selling what I had and moving on whenever my wife had to move thanks to her job, and this is the first time in ten years I am annoyed and burned out enough to consider either leasing a brick and mortar restaurant or to let it go completely.

  • Jonas

    @A.B.: There is a provision in Dallas code, for Mobile Food Preparation Vehicles. That’d be the ones that actually carry ingredients and produce food on-site for consumption or package it for purchase and removal from the immediate premises (there’s a licensing difference).

    The problem isn’t that it’s not in the code, it’s the fact that an inspection is required and said inspection is dragged out by the authorities. At the same time, banks don’t like the business model, there are legal limbos… you get the gist.

  • Shandra Hollinsworth

    Great sharing! Thanks! =) I’ve bookmarked this site