MILWAUKEE, WI – The food truck landscape sure looks a lot different from four years ago.
That’s when I first wrote about the trucks and street food, still a novelty for many back then (though not on the south side, where taco trucks were and still are plentiful).
In 2009, perhaps a half-dozen trucks were parked around downtown, along with some hot dog carts.
Scott Baitinger of Streetza Pizza was one of those early food truck operators, and Streetza still plies the streets.
The change has been drastic, Baitinger said, observing that at least 10 new trucks have appeared this year alone.
Some trucks and carts have departed; even so, Baitinger estimated 25 nontraditional trucks are active at gatherings downtown this year, with probably another 25 taco trucks on the south side.
Baitinger consistently used Twitter from the beginning to broadcast the truck’s location and to build community among its customers. (Streetza has gained national notice over the years in part for its social media presence, this year making the Daily Meal’s list of the 101 best food trucks in America.)
Four years ago, he said, social media drew customers that seemed mainly to be “30 and male.” The audience has broadened, he said.
“People are definitely more familiar with the category thanks to ‘The Great Food Truck Race'” — the Food Network reality show — “so there’s a lot less explaining we have to do,” Baitinger said.
Food trucks now gather in greater numbers in Schlitz Park on Tuesdays, at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Thursdays and at Red Arrow Park on N. Water St. on Fridays. With a limited number of parking spaces and increasing numbers of trucks, food truck operators are hoping for new gathering spots, or more frequent gatherings.
Find a list of some of the newer crop of trucks in the original article by Carol Deptolla of the Journal Sentinel<here>