TRAVERSE CITY, MI – 2014 was a banner year for Traverse City food trucks. Now, with the winter season approaching, vendors are exploring options for the long off-season – from putting trucks into storage to focusing on brick-and-mortar restaurants to serving up fare in a new indoor pop-up space planned for downtown TC.
At The Little Fleet on East Front Street, eight full-time food trucks that occupied the bar’s parking lot this summer will vacate the property by the end of this week. Owner Gary Jonas says that while his original vision was to keep the trucks open during winter months, attempts to do so last season “made it clear it wasn’t going to work.”
“By December, the trucks’ pipes were all frozen,” Jonas says. “Then, when the trucks were closed (but still in the lot), people were confused. They kept asking when they would open. So this year it’s a hard out for the trucks, and we’ll use the lot for customers coming to the bar.”
Several vendors plan to put their trucks in storage for the winter, according to Jonas, with most expected to return next spring to either The Little Fleet or other Traverse City locations. (Jonas plans to rotate the lot’s lineup on an annual basis to “keep things fresh.”)
Other area vendors say they plan to brave the cold for special occasions: Roaming Harvest’s Simon Joseph will be “sneaking around for some of the (local) winter events,” while Sombrero Verde’s Spencer Boyles says his Latin cuisine may appear “at occasional events or catering jobs” throughout the winter before he reopens full time in the spring outside InsideOut Gallery.
It’s a plan that also suits toy and t-shirt vendor Beau Warren of TNT Truck. “I’m definitely going to try and get to some events this winter,” he says. “There’s a lot less competition (during the off-season).” On quieter days, Warren has another use in mind for the vehicle: “We’re going to use it for (merchandise) storage, because there’s so much space in there,” he laughs.
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