ASHEVILLE, NC – On a frigid January day, Jennifer Pauer sat in her ’85 Westfalia Volkswagen bus, steaming milk for hot chocolate.

It was so cold that small white icebergs floated in the Homestead Creamery milk she was using. “This is brutal,” she said, grinning.

On Wednesday, Pauer’s truck, Nuwati Coffee, hung with festive lights and equipped with a gleaming espresso machine, was one of the first to try out the 68 Haywood Street Food Truck Court.

This idea of filling empty space with food is a city of Asheville pilot program, and an effort to bring life to the lot sometimes derisively dubbed the “Pit of Despair.”

For the next year, up to four food trucks at once may set up in the lot across from the U.S. Cellular Center from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. for a relatively cheap $50 application fee and approval from the city.

“I think the location is awesome,” Pauer said. “It’s just a matter of getting the food trucks to commit to being out here.”

On that frigid day, another food truck scheduled to show had not. And Pauer had only sold six cups of coffee by 11:15 a.m. “But I wouldn’t change setting up today for anything.”

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