Food Truck Park Hits A Snag
Houston's new food truck park closed by regulators after just one day: But it will return even cooler
After a rollicking launch on Saturday, Houston's new food truck park hit a few regulatory snags that forced the cancelation of lunch service this week, its first week in operation. Now, its organizers say weekday hours will start on July 1 instead.
Regular weekend hours are still expected to resume this Saturday.
Houston Food Park — founded by Jack Gillett, Tirzo Ponce and Miguel Villegas — send out a mea culpa about the delay via Facebook and Twitter, noting that city officials are requiring more shade and seating at the site located in the parking lot of the former Meridian Club.
Judging from the social media comments, fans who stopped by the park for the blazing hot debut are pleased with the plans for the modifications and happy to wait another week.
"To be honest, we thought the summer heat would slow down people in the beginning while we worked out the small issues," Ponce tells CultureMap.
"After the big crowds on Saturday, this has really exploded in our faces. It's been an awesome surprise."
"But after the big crowds on Saturday, this has really exploded in our faces. It's been an awesome surprise. We feeling really blessed by all the support."
Ponce says he and his park co-owners are listening closely to visitors and truck proprietors, making sure hours and amenities are just right to ensure the long-term success of the project. Since last week, customer feedback already has brought about some scheduling changes.
When they begin next Monday, weekday lunch hours will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a newly added dinner period from 5 to 9 p.m. Starting this Saturday, the park will be open on weekend days from 4 to 10 p.m. in an attempt to lessen the impact of the summer heat.
"It's up to the public and the trucks to tells us what they want and how they want it," Ponce says. "We really want to make sure this works for Houston."
Ponce notes the number of similar food truck parks across the country, adding that it's time for the nation's fourth largest city to "play catch up."
"I visited Taste of Chicago a few years ago and was just blown away by how much support the people and the city give to something like that," he says. "The closest thing we have here is iFest, which is a cool event . . . I just think a city as diverse as ours has a lot more to offer."
In conjunction with the park, Ponce, Gillett and Villegas are in the process of creating a television news program that will highlight the city's huge array of international cultures and cuisines. Watch the Houston Food Park Facebook page for updates.