Eat, drink and savor: The food truck is a hit on Tuesdays
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Reaching the end of a very successful five weeks On Nov. 14, the Hollister Food Truck Tuesday event will see vendors gather in the public parking lot at Sixth and East streets for the last time this year, offering a wide range of cuisines to what, if patterns continue, will be hundreds of eager customers.
Between the loosening of food truck regulations by the City Council in June, the greater exposure to trucks by moving the farmers market to San Benito Street and the appearance of food trucks on Tuesday, 2023 is the year the local food truck culture has stayed put.
“It’s been great,” said Joe Elmhurst, owner of the Steak Stop. “We’ve seen the community really interact. It’s like about 800 people show up every week, and the customer base is spread out really well, so all the trucks are starting to roll.”
Elmhurst said his Tuesday night customers preferred the Plain Jane and Garlic Bomb cheesesteak sandwiches, along with fried mushrooms. He first proposed devoting space downtown to food trucks in 2021, and said things have gone better than he could have imagined.
“This was exactly what we wanted to grow and create,” he said. “We were looking for an outdoor setting, a space where vendors could collaborate, customers could share the dining experience, the more diverse the better.”
The wide range of cuisine was embodied in the nine trucks that appeared on the evening of November 7:
“People have been asking for this,” said Omar Rosa, executive director of the Downtown Hollister Association, who helped create the space. “It’s all over social media, and I think you talk to any of the food truck people here, and they’ll tell you this is a good thing for them, too.”
Chef Alejandro Ceja, owner of Hollister’s El Guapo Kitchen, said he prefers Food Truck Tuesdays to the Farmers Market on Wednesdays.
“It’s a different atmosphere with people coming here just for the food itself,” he said. “I passed my regular family and many new clients. I exceeded my goals and set new records.”
As he served his seasonal butternut squash dish, Sega described the trucks coming together to form a wonderful, close-knit community.
“We always accept each other with open arms,” he said. “If we run out of something, like utensils or napkins, everyone is willing to help. I hope we can keep that going. It’s a lot of fun here, and everyone is having a good time.”
Steve Ricketts would go out every Tuesday to support his sons, Aaron, Jason and Scott Ricketts, known as Haba Bros, makers of a chicken sandwich that has reached almost legendary status in the county. But he’s not averse to participating in other trucks as well and enjoys exploring Ceja’s rotating menu.
“I think this is a good service to the public,” he added. “The farmers market was good for us, and we really enjoyed it. But this provides a great location, kind of a hub for food trucks, giving people the opportunity to try multiple new things.”
While trying out the trucks for the first time, Jennifer Peoples brought her children, Jacob and Emily, to dinner.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I’m sad it’s going away next week and I wish they would do it longer into the season. With the taco stands, steak sandwiches and of course baked potatoes, I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
Rosa said he hopes food trucks can return early next year as a precursor to the farmers market, but will take into account the impact the trucks will have on traditional restaurants.
“We talked to them before the market,” he said. “Some said it’s okay for them as long as it’s not in front of their business. I want to go back and talk to them to see if it affected them. Did it bring more people walking downtown? What else can we do to promote them while creating this space for food trucks?” “
Tony Canty of Canty’s Kitchen said he hasn’t felt any friction with the restaurants, quite the opposite.
He added: “I have not heard of any complaints.” “In fact, a lot of people in the business have been coming to the trucks and getting the food themselves. People can get something to eat here and then go to The Baler or Johnny’s and get a drink afterward. It benefits all of us.”
Elmhurst says he hopes more vendors will participate next year.
“There are a couple of other guys on the waiting list who want to come, like the pizza guy by the slice,” he said. “I think our variety is pretty good, although I’d like to see more unique trucks. But the trucks here are mainstays, and I think people are really going to miss us.”
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BenitoLink thanks our guarantors, Hollister Super and Windmill MarketTo help expand our Eat, Drink & Taste series and provide our readers with stories that matter to them. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support reporting on the inspiring and creative people behind the many delicious food and beverage products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.