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El Paso

Foodville Food Truck Park

EL PASO, TX – Until recently, Lydia Palacios could not remember the last time she had been downtown.

A lifelong El Paso resident, Palacios said downtown was more a childhood memory than a current event.

On her way to a doctor’s appointment on a recent Monday in June, Palacios said she and her husband, Sergio, were doing something they had not done in many years – lunching together downtown.“My father would take us on the bus downtown and take us to Kress to eat lunch,” said Palacios referring to S.H. Kress & Co., the five-and-dime with a lunch counter on the northwest corner of North Oregon Street and Mills Avenue.

The two sat at an umbrella-covered table waiting for the fish tacos they had ordered from The Reef Mobile Kitchen, a food truck on Mills Street that serves seafood Mexican fare. The couple said they were intrigued by the various developments and events that are reshaping the city center, including concerts at the Civic Center on Friday nights, the newly opened Southwest University Ball Park, and the nearly 2-year-old food park where they were lunching.

Their reaction is exactly what real estate entrepreneur Lane Gaddy was hoping for when he got the idea to turn a downtown parking lot he owned into Foodville, a food truck park.“They are reviving downtown,” Lydia Palacios said. “They are doing more, and I am coming more.”

“I was able to travel and see what other cities were doing for both downtown revitalization and get ideas behind tactical urbanism,” said Gaddy, 31, who looked at Austin, Portland and Dallas before determining that his parking lot might work well for food trucks in El Paso.

“It seems a much better use than a semi-functional parking lot, which is what it was when we bought it,” said Gaddy.

Launched in November 2012, the Foodville Truck Park opened as the city’s only dedicated downtown food truck park.

Find the entire article at borderzine.com <here>

EL PASO, TX – The food trucks are coming to Downtown El Paso.

el paso food truck park
Photo by Rudy Gutierrez/El Paso Times

Lane Gaddy, 29, an El Paso businessman who is part of an investors group that in recent months purchased three large Downtown buildings, is turning a small parking lot behind one of those new purchases into a court for mobile food vendors.

“We’re not making money on this, but it’s a good way to get foot traffic in the area” and help push further redevelopment Downtown, Gaddy said this week as he sat in his office at W Silver Recycling, an El Paso metal recycling company where he’s president.

“This is a good use of empty land, it’s aesthetically pleasing, and it will help the (food truck) entrepreneurs,” he said.

The food court, named Foodville, is scheduled to open Nov. 19 inside a recently fenced parking lot in the 200 block of Mills Avenue, near Stanton Street. It’s behind the Martin Building, which Gaddy and his partners bought in late 2011, and across from the Downtown post office. It initially will operate from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

The food court will feature Crave Kitchen & Bar’s trailer, dubbed “Crave to Go,” which will serve salads, sandwiches and other fare for prices ranging from $4 to $10; and food trucks Create Gourmet Eats, which serves $8 gourmet burgers, and Tacoholics, which makes gourmet tacos selling from $2.50 to $7 per order.

Another one or two food vendors may be added later.

“I think El Paso is ready for this,” said Octavio Gomez, 32, Crave co-owner and an entrepreneur instrumental in helping to develop Downtown’s Union Plaza District into an entertainment area.

“This is one of the small things that make a big city. I think it will help keep people from leaving Downtown for lunch,” Gomez said.

Steven Hernandez, 27, who’s operated Create Gourmet Eats for about two years, said he’s ready to get back Downtown after a policeman kicked him out of a parking space along San Jacinto Plaza in late 2011.

Other cities have places for food trucks to operate Downtown, Hernandez said.

Hernandez has been operating his truck mostly on the East Side.

Gaddy said he’s heard some Downtown restaurant operators are concerned about the food trucks taking away sales. But, he said, there’s enough business Downtown at lunchtime for everyone.

Joseph Odeh, who owns the 50 year-old Big Bun Hamburgers, which in August relocated to 209 E. Mills, across from the food court, said he isn’t happy about the incoming competition.

“I think it stinks. There are only a limited number of people (who eat) Downtown,” Odeh said. “I hope it brings in new people Downtown, but I don’t see it.”

Find the entire article by Vic Kolenc at the El Paso Times <here>



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