By Josh Hafner | DMJuice.com
Des Moines has seen itself grow into a relatively hip and forward-thinking city in recent years, with bike trails, public art, great craft beer and a booming farmers market. If there’s one gem missing from Des Moines’ urbanite crown, it might be that of a cohesive food truck scene.
But that’s starting to change, and it will only get hotter in the year to come as mobile food vendors increase both in number and diversity.
Sure, food trucks existed in Des Moines long before the national trend. These come mostly in the form of authentic taco trucks lining the city’s major thoroughfares — think of Tacos Degollado on University Avenue or Taquiera Veracruz on East 14th Street.
Newer food trucks popping up in the metro area such as the Spot and Magnolia Kitchen & Grocery serve up items like stuffed mushrooms and braised pork over grits, the kind of foodie flair associated with places like Austin and Portland.
But the Spot and Magnolia — as well as new food cart vendors like Melts Without Borders, a grilled cheese operation — are relegated mostly to patios of breweries like Confluence Brewing and 515 Brewing Co., thanks to strict city ordinances in Des Moines and even more strict rules in some other parts of the metro area.
Rumblings arise every so often about a push at Des Moines City Hall for more lenient rules for food trucks or for designated food truck parks as seen in larger cities. A pilot project between the city, the Downtown Community Alliance and the Des Moines Social Club aimed to put such a district along Walnut Street before the Younkers Building fire derailed the street’s renovations.
Until a shift happens at the city level, scour social media to find where Des Moines’ latest food trucks are setting up shop. It’s well worth the search.