Mobile Kitchens Become Driving Force in Tampa [video]

Mobile kitchens become driving force in Tampa:

By Jeremy Campbell | FOX 13 News

TAMPA – There’s a nightly dinner line forming in Seminole Heights, and the kitchen could very well drive away if it weren’t for all the hungry customers.

“The last few years, the whole trend of the food truck industry has become more popular and more aware,” said Taco Bus owner Rene Valenzuela.

Food trucks offer full-service menus.

“It’s changing a lot from the standard hot dogs and hamburgers,” said Tim Carver.

All served out of a mobile kitchen.

“Our kitchen is set up in a 1959 antique Airstream,” said Freshley’s co-owner Jacqueline Bennett.

Buying their Airstream on eBay saved a lot in overhead. It’s filled with commercial-grade kitchen equipment. It’s a family partnership between three generations.

“We cook the way we like to eat,” she said.

Most food trucks always stay in the same location, but it’s a business easily taken to go. This Taco Bus travels all across Tampa and St. Pete and sometimes out of state for special events and festivals.

“Food trucks have been around for many many years in other places, like Mexico and Chicago and New York,” Valenzuela.

The Taco Bus is a driving force, serving St. Pete and Tampa with another location coming soon downtown.

“I think the Tampa trend is a little behind, maybe a year or so behind Orlando and Miami, those are the ones with the most prevalent food trucks scene right now, but I think we’re catching up,” said Todd Sturtz of

Wicked Wiches is one of the newest.

“It is a mobile gourmet restaurant. We specialize in a variety of sandwiches,” said owner Brian Goodell.

Don’t expect any difference in regulations.

“We have to have the same equipment inside. We have to have hood, a three compartment sink, a hand washing station and they come on board and check,” Goodell said.

Do expect to see a food truck with a unique specialty driving to a neighborhood near you.

“Anywhere from cupcakes to foie gras on toast so it really is a large gamut they cover,” Sturtz said.