By BRENNA GRITEMAN
Findlay’s hippest new lunch spot this summer isn’t a dark cafe or a patio with little umbrellas in its drinks.
It’s a weekly gathering of food trucks in a parking lot downtown.
The Wednesday Food Truck Court will run through the summer season, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — or until food sells out, which is not uncommon. The trucks form a semi-circle around a large cluster of tables and chairs set up in the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts’ parking lot, with groups of friends and co-workers arriving by the carload or walking over from neighboring offices. Tables are also set up inside the center’s atrium for those looking to escape the midday heat.
It’s a dream come true for a foodie — or for anyone who simply cannot decide what they want for lunch (we’ve all been there). Where else can you order a street taco, an order of pulled pork nachos, a slice of frozen cheesecake on a stick, and a fresh-squeezed glass of beet juice to create the perfect, well-rounded meal?
Heather Clow, executive director at the Marathon Center, said it is her goal to make the venue a community gathering space. She reached out to two food trucks to see if they’d be willing to make a weekly appearance at the center, “and then it sort of snowballed from there,” she said. Soon, food truck vendors were calling her, asking if they could get in on the party.
On the food truck court’s second gathering of the season this week, a rare 90-degree May day with a heavy breeze, hungry groups of customers lined up outside six trucks: Angie’s Street Tacos, Dixie Girl, JK Juices, Amy May’s Rockin’ Taco, ABC Concessions and King’s Concessions.
Angie’s Street Tacos was offering its signature lunchtime special: two tacos with rice and beans for $7. This is Angie Gallegos’ second year with the truck, and she says the smaller, easier-to-manage variety of tacos known as “street tacos” have become her signature. Her top seller is the barbacoa taco, closely followed by a stuffed avocado loaded with tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, cilantro and croutons, drenched in lime juice.
Customer Derek Gillian was enjoying the barbacoa.
He had read about the food truck court on Angie’s Facebook page and, since he conveniently has Wednesdays off, decided to drop by with his 2-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who was happily munching on a chicken taco. He was impressed both by the tacos and by the large assembly of food trucks, and said he’ll definitely be back.
“I came here to get tacos but next week I’m going to have to try something different,” Gillian said.
New to the mobile food scene, ABC Concessions is in its first season, and is owned by Lisa and Bo Moser. Lisa said the truck’s giant baked potatoes, loaded with anything your heart desires, are always a hit, but its claim to fame is its cheesecake in a cup.
“They’ve sold pretty well today,” Lisa said, adding that customers can choose from cherry, strawberry, Oreo, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Reese’s Pieces. Also on the menu are a variety of sub sandwiches and wraps.
The Dixie Girl truck, selling Southern comfort foods such as “ultimate mac & cheese with buttery crunchies” and a pulled pork slider with slaw, is entering its second full season.
Owner Heather Kinn is helped on the truck by her 16-year-old daughter, Hailey, and 7-year-old son Gabe. She said everything on the truck is made from scratch, and all the desserts are gluten-free.
“We definitely have a following with our banh mi po’ boy, and our mac and cheese,” she said. Also popular are the pulled pork nachos.
Kinn said she’s happy to join the weekly gathering, in solidarity with her fellow food truck owners, and she’s hoping to get a chance to sample their offerings in coming months.
The JK Juices truck made its debut in Findlay last season, and visits twice a week from its native Bluffton. Owner Jordan Rosendale purchased a cold-press during the offseason and is bottling her concoctions in pretty glass jars. Every bottle is juiced on the truck that day.
She said the current fan favorite is “sweet beet,” a blend of apples, beets, carrots and lemon. The raw vegan chocolate and lemon donuts are also going over well.
Rosendale said she’s happy to commit to one day a week at the Marathon center.
“We love that Findlay’s doing this — it’s so much fun,” Rosendale said. “It’s fun to see all the other truck vendors, too — getting to know them.”