Remember those summer days of youth when the musical delight of the ice cream man driving by would set off a smile and put you in a full sprint towards the road in search of the sugary concoctions. Your local ice cream man knew you couldn’t resist. Fast forward to the here and now. Step outside in downtown Denver these days and your options of mobilized sweet treats or full course meals have blown the ice cream man off of his pedestal.
The great thing about these food trucks/carts/trailers/mobile vendors and events in and around the Mile High City, is that you can sample diverse, succulent cuisine simply by walking across the street from your home or place of employment in most cases. Local favorites sampled near our Ballpark/RINO neighborhood include: The Denver Cupcake Truck, , Steubens Food Truck , Mike’s 2 Kitchen , and The Steamin’ Demon which offers gourmet vegetarian meals conjured up together by Watercourse and City O’ City.
Even a prime time Food Network series has taken notice to the surging trend in Denver, filming the food trucks competing in season two of The Great Food Truck Race on May 3rd & 4th parked in various locations throughout Denver. The competing trucks were from all over America, just more proof that even national ice cream men have some heavy competition in their corners. But, unlike those trucks of our youth, we as consumers are not driven to attention by repetitive musical notes streaming through the air (simultaneously annoying the driver). Instead, these days we are driven by the ever present social media. In fact, you can find more information and a large list of Denver vendors on http://www.denverstreetfood.com/ where you can easily subscribe by RSS or email to receive the latest news. Or “like” their Facebook page for daily status reports, menus or events. Better yet, look up your favorite local vendor and subscribe to their Twitter feed. You’ll receive daily, sometimes hourly status updates of their exact location. Now you won’t have to hunt down the truck with your superior sense of smell, Twitter will tell you exactly where and when to go.
According to the Denver Post, across America, from Boston to Denver to Los Angeles, the response to mobile food providers has varied. In some states, the sudden surge and success has led to unforeseen problems like in Los Angeles. L.A developed laws too late, which led to battles between City Hall and the mass amounts of food vendors. Denver is still working to see how the movement evolves, gearing up decades old city codes for monitoring food trucks. Often still referred to as “roach coaches”. But Colorado is working hard to keep ahead of the trend. Boulder in particular sees the food truck evolution from a green perspective. Local consumers are provided gourmet food and motivated to walk or take the opportunity to eat outside in parks. Therefore avoiding the need to drive and reducing carbon footprints.
Regardless of our individual opinions, mobile food vendors have indeed become a part of our Denver restaurant culture. If you work or live in Denver, take the opportunity to step outside, get some much needed sunshine and walk across the street to support your local street vendor. Then watch as you see local businesses flourish and our community come together. We are all a part of it. You’ll be glad you bought that cupcake.