Gwinnett, GA: Food truck trend gains popularity in Gwinnett

Food trucks line Main Street during the city of Duluth’s
Fridays -N- Duluth event on June 19.
(Staff Photo: Danielle Ryan)

By Katie Morris  |  Gwinnett Daily Post

Food trucks line Main Street during the city of Duluth’s Fridays -N- Duluth event on June 19. (Staff Photo: Danielle Ryan)
Food trucks line Main Street during the city of Duluth’s
Fridays -N- Duluth event on June 19.
(Staff Photo: Danielle Ryan)

Nomie Truong’s food truck, Viet-Nomie’s, is a common sight during the week for hungry Georgia Tech students looking for an afternoon bite inbetween classes.

But Truong’s doesn’t just serve customers against the urban backdrop of Atlanta. She also travels out to the ’burbs regularly for food truck events in cities like Dunwoody and Alpharetta, and more recently Duluth and Suwanee.

“It’s just been growing — one city has started it and from there (other cities) were like, ‘Hey, they’re doing it. Let’s do it, too,’” Truong said. “It’s so great to be able to pack up everything and come serve those people who don’t want to come into Atlanta.”

“Who wants to drive from Gwinnett all the way downtown … to get a meal?” she added. “And you’re fighting traffic and finding parking, so it’s wonderful that Suwanee has opened up — and (also) Gwinnett County — and we’re expecting more and more events.”

Truong isn’t alone because a growing number of food trucks are making their way to Gwinnett due to the popular demand. Cousins Maine Lobster Atlanta owner Tony Harrison said he frequently makes the trip to Gwinnett, attending food truck events hosted by Lilburn, Sugar Hill and Duluth. The company has been featured in the past on the TV show “Shark Tank.”

Harrison said while CML’s lunch hours are typically dominated by corporate-based customers, the suburban counties are the place to be for the dinner rush.

“The suburbs really are where it’s at, I mean whole (residential) neighborhoods are hosting events,” he said. “Also, cities and municipalities are now hosting their own events and we’re seeing a lot of that in the northeastern corridor … everybody is getting in.”

Even though food trucks have been a typical sight in large urban areas such as New York and Chicago for quite some time, Gwinnettians have witnessed the trend rapidly expand into their community over the past few years, with more and more cities across the county choosing to host events.

In spring 2013, Suwanee launched what is believed to be the county’s first ongoing food truck event with five vendors and a crowd of hundreds. This past summer season numerous cities and organizations hosted events featuring an array of trucks, with some functions drawing crowds of thousands.

“The food truck craze is really beginning to peak, and people are so excited about food trucks in general that it’s been fun to see the customers reactions and get the feedback both in person and on social media,” Harrison said.

From food truck nights to farmers markets, concerts and festivals, no matter which city you reside in, you can probably find a truck parked near your neighborhood at least one night a week.

Troung’s husband, Paul, said the growing popularity is partly because it’s fun for locals to have the chance to sample from a variety of cuisines — there’s a little something for everyone, “like a food court but outdoor.”

“Also, it’s a family event, and people love the food and they love the uniqueness of the trucks,” Nomie said. “It helps them to get out and there’s activities for kids … it’s so nice to go somewhere in the community like a park, and just let the kids run around and play, and while you socialize with your friends, they get to socialize with their friends. It’s such a good community event.”