Trucks will bring different foods and dining experiences to downtown Phoenix every week on Fridays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., said Cindy Gentry, executive director of the Phoenix Public Market.
“It’ll be a blast,” Gentry said. “The trucks are a lot of fun. It’ll bring activity, energy and different food than is normally served for lunch downtown.”
Gentry said she is expecting over 100 people at the first weekly food court on Friday but that the Phoenix Public Market is ultimately expecting a slow start.
“I think the food court is going to grow,” said Gentry, who said the first food trucks began parking in the lot this summer. “We have had four additional trucks inquire, but the idea is to make sure we have the customer base … we need to stay conservative and pay attention to our customers and the demand.”
The plan for the food court is to start slow and steady, beginning with five lunch trucks and one dessert truck, said Brad Moore, owner of Short Leash Hotdogs, the first food truck to began parking at the Phoenix Public Market lot.
“We’ll treat it like a mall food court,” Moore said. “We’ll have one option for each style … that way there is no direct competition and it’s more of a collaborative effort.”
Food trucks have been catching on in other major cities, such as Los Angeles, Moore said. Now, he said, he wants to bring this alive in Phoenix as well.
“We are so excited. It’ll be a cool cultural event,” Moore said. “I think gourmet street food is really catching on elsewhere, and now it’s Phoenix’s turn.”
The mobile-food court will generate traffic and awareness for the market, making it mutually beneficial, Moore said.
“Our goal is create synergy between the food trucks and the Phoenix Public Market itself,” Moore said.
Tanya Chakravarty, co-owner of Sunshine and Spice, a participating food truck, said they decided to use a truck because it can make their food more affordable for people, providing locally grown food with fewer overhead costs.
Chakravarty said the owners of Sunshine and Spice try to focus on the “quality of the food they prepare, how it affects people and where it comes from,” and that a food truck allows them to do just that.
With affordable prices, a sparkly truck and their “Asian taco fusion” cuisine, Chakravarty said she hopes to both attract business to her truck and bring attention to the market itself.
“We want to bring people, not just for lunch on Fridays but introduce people to what the Phoenix Public Market has to offer as well,” Chakravarty said.
Chakravarty said she is also expecting a slow start to the mobile-food court until the word gets out about it. She said she is anticipating approximately 30 customers on Friday but hopes the customer base quadruples by January.
“I think this is the time in Phoenix where we’re going to find the beauty of good food served from such a small kitchen,” Chakravarty said.
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