Back in the summer and fall a grassy lot off of Howell Mill was transformed into a food truck destination to the excitement of many on the north side of town. It offered free parking (albeit not a ton in the main lot), restrooms, easy access to the interstate and a picnic like atmosphere that couldn’t be attained in the usual in-town, asphalt laden locations. It was very family friendly; people would bring their kids and their dogs and just hang out. Most of the other food truck locations have more of a dine and dash mentality, which is fine, this one was just different.
Things seemed to be going well, the events were packed, they were getting good PR on the radio…heck they even hosted the Cooking Channel for one the shoots of its popular food truck show, Eat Street (http://bit.ly/wlRf2m). All of a sudden they shut down for the “season”; I’m not sure exactly when they stopped, but the last one I went to or heard of was in mid-November for the show mentioned above. I’m pretty sure funding has a lot to do with it (up-keep of the lot, permits, restrooms, etc.) but haven’t heard anything concrete. Most of the other locations are back open and have been for some time considering we really didn’t have a winter… shoot some locations never took a break. Most of the trucks do this for a living, so taking a break isn’t really in the cards for them; the more locations they have the better for them and the community.
There’s been a little activity on the Howell Mill Food Park (HMFP) Facebook (FB) page suggesting it may come back, but no absolutes. There was mention of a corporate sponsor and even expanding the events to incorporate things like live music; they even asked their “friends” on FB what they would like to see and a ton of people wanted a movie night…??? The latest post suggests that they will be partnering with a new non-profit (Local A) for an event this spring, but I cannot find any info on Local A and their website is just a shell. The only word we received from HMFP indicated their desire to start back, but that a lot of it depended on the trucks. You could read that 6 ways till Sunday, so I won’t assume; I just hope everyone can work together to bring it back. Don’t take this article the wrong way, I really like Howell Mill and sincerely hope they come back strong, but they should keep it simple…music is fine, but a movie night would be ridiculous.