There was an error in this gadget

Friday, July 29, 2011

Will Fort Worth Have a Food Park this Fall?

The only things sprouting in this 105-degree desert atmosphere are food trucks. Not the dirty, fried-everything food trucks but creative gourmet trucks that won't have you reaching for the Imodium.

Soon there may be a place where a bundle of these can park and grow their businesses together.

It's not new news. I'm sure you've read on the other Fort Worth blogs there is a potential food truck park moving in behind the Target on West Seventh and Carroll.  I sat down with the man behind the idea, Chris Kruger, to ask him about the park and the upcoming Fort Worth City Council meeting where the park's fate will be decided. 

First, what can we expect to see at this meeting? Nine board members will hear Chris' case, which he has seven minutes to present. The people opposing have seven minutes as well. The board members will vote right then and there.  Chris needs seven out of nine votes to have his food park approved. There will also be time where you can add your two cents at the end of this foodie dance.

What is the current opposition? According to a Star-Telegram article, a local manufacturing company said several businesses in the area don't want the "street clogged with diners." The article also said they worry about children running in the streets.

The proposed food park site is in a "light" industrial area but one that hardly has traffic. In fact, the CrossFit Seven gym next door uses the empty streets as a running course several times a day. I also imagine children will be on the benches eating or in the sandbox ... unless they were raised by wolves and are unsupervised. In that case, you would worry about them anywhere.

Chris said he plans to have parking in the lot next to his 7,250 square-foot space on Weisenberger. With all of that said, I hardly see "people-clogging" as a problem. The manufacturers own their plot, not the street.

I've found in my research that most of the opposition for food parks comes from "bricks-and-mortar" restaurants that say food trucks steal their thunder. There aren't any food service companies within 100 feet of this park that I know of. Others argue they aren't environmentally friendly, creating a lot of trash. Maybe an innovative idea can make this park more green.

Chris said this isn't going to be like most other food parks (or pods), which merely fill up vacant unpaved areas or parking lots and aren't very attractive. He wants it to be a nice outdoor space with park benches, trash cans, and even a sandbox for the little ones to play in. Just look at his rendering. I would enjoy myself here.

Why a food park? While Chris already stays busy as an attorney, he and wife Lacey have always had a passion for food. At one point, they thought about opening a grilled cheese food truck, and his wife has her own food blog with nifty tips on how to prepare a solid meal. He said he's been following the food truck trend since he lived in Austin. He even watched that show "The Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network. With the trend growing in Fort Worth, he decided to jump in and create a pleasant space for it to grow. But it hasn't come easy. He said it's been a learning curve for him and the city of Fort Worth, because this is the first time either of them have attempted such a project.

If you're interested in getting involved or showing up to support, the hearing is this Wednesday, 10 a.m. Aug. 3 at the City Council downtown on Throckmorton. "Like" them on Facebook by clicking here: http://www.facebook.com/fwfoodpark.

To contact Chris email him at fwfoodpark@gmail.com. If you have any corrections or questions for me, email me at foodtravelfortworth@gmail.com.

If all goes well Wednesday, the park should be open this fall.  Right when the weather gets nice and we all emerge from our air-conditioned caves.

Food Park Photo Gallery (Chris' idea looks more tidy than these)