The food truck movement might have taken its sweet time to get to the streets of Spokane, but if you ask the chefs and business owners who run these mobile operations, they'll tell you they're here to stay. They've got each other's backs, too.
"It's a unique business plan, but we need each other," says Barbara Pagarigan, the owner of Bistro Box, which relocated from Seattle to Spokane this summer. She says that mobile food vendors need strength in numbers.
"It's been proven in other cities that the more trucks, and the more variety of trucks, the more it attracts people," she says.
On Friday night, six local food trucks — Bistro Box, Couple of Chefs Catering, The Jamaican Jerk Pan, Azar's, King of Tacos and The Scoop — will set up shop in the pedestrian walkway on Wall Street, between Main and Riverside, for a food truck rally coinciding with the monthly First Friday art walk.
The event, organized by the Downtown Spokane Partnership and the city of Spokane, also will feature live holiday music — and because it's going to be cold, heat lamps. For DSP, the event is not only a chance to showcase the city's burgeoning food truck culture, but to bring people to a downtown spot that has been characterized as a nuisance.
Andrew Rolwes, the DSP's public policy and parking manager, says it's also a pilot program to use the stretch of Wall Street for public events. During a trip to a conference in New York, Rolwes saw how integral food carts can be to the environment of a downtown area.
Pagarigan says she's been in contact with other truck owners who want to make this sort of rally commonplace — perhaps four times a year. She sees these plans, as well as the city's cooperative attitude toward clarifying rules and regulations for these businesses, as a sign of things to come.
"Based on the reception we've had since last summer, people in Spokane are ready for more great food from trucks," says Pagarigan. ♦
First Friday Holiday Food Truck Rally • Fri, Dec. 6 from 5-8 pm • Wall St. (between Main and Riverside)