When Nemo rolled into town, a number of restaurants managed to stay open despite the feet of snow and the driving ban. For the city's food trucks, though, the driving ban made service temporarily impossible - and even after the ban lifted, there were huge piles of snow taking up most of the trucks' usual parking spots. Things are slowly getting back to normal, but the trucks have had to get creative and work together over the last few days in order to push forward.
In a last minute truck/restaurant partnership, for example, Roxy's Grilled Cheese took over the kitchen at Trina's Starlite Lounge on Saturday night, an arrangement that was put together "in a couple hours," according to Roxy's owner James DiSabatino, who added that the place was "packed," and the evening was "so much fun." They served up the usual selection of grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, and tomato soup.
As for getting back on the road, DiSabatino reports:
"The storm has really sucked for us. Most of the city spots have snow banks that extend ten feet into the road. The city still insists it's up to us, so I guess we're going to try and shovel it and send the city an invoice for a new back if I need one afterwards."
Meanwhile, other truck owners report that DiSabatino and others have been actively banding the trucks together to help each other clear out parking spots and get up and running again. From Mei Li, co-owner of Mei Mei Street Kitchen:
"Sara Ross from Kickass Cupcakes and James DiSabatino from Roxy's have been incredibly proactive and are trying to set up a truck collective to pay to clear the food truck spots. They're working with the City to try to make it happen, but as Public Works requires snow removal rather than plowing, it may be a while before it can happen given that most trucks are working overtime as it is. Unfortunately, it will also be seriously expensive for trucks already facing big losses, so shoveling might be the way to go!
It's a bad situation for us as small businesses that depend on small margins and it's really tough for food truck staff across the city that are out of work while all the trucks are out of commission. We're hoping that people will come out and help support the food trucks when we manage to get back on the road and also put out a call if any office parks/businesses/people with cleared parking want to host a food truck to come sell at their location. We might have an office park catering gig lined up for later this week which would be amazing...we need all the help we can get!"
Speaking for Bon Me, Jenn Ngo says that they've been "shoveling out with food truck friends like Roxy's, Chubby Chickpea, Chicken and Rice, and Mei Mei's to get our spots open and our trucks back on the road. You can definitely feel the camaraderie around!"
Meanwhile, Clover has been adding its trucks back to the road gradually as spaces clear up. The MIT truck began running again yesterday, which also happened to be the team leader's birthday, so they celebrated with free cupcakes for all customers.
Know of any places with plowed lots that would welcome some trucks? Hit up the tipline or comment below!