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