By Joseph Cress | The Sentinel
Paula Hoffman did not have to go far to savvy the flavor of “South of the Border.”
The local woman only had to walk a short distance from the community pool to order the special from the South Burrito menu.
“It’s absolutely delicious,” Hoffman said of mixture of chicken, rice, beans and corn. “It’s huge…I may not be able to eat it all.”
Her family was among the dozens of patrons to enjoy a variety of tastes and textures served up by a collection of food trucks at Hampden Park Saturday.
The popular vendors were a highlight of a special event evening that included fireworks at the nearby Naval Support Activity and extended pool hours to 10 p.m.
“It’s a great idea,” Hoffman said of including the vendors. “It brings more people to the area and more people to the pool.”
Standing nearby was Shelby Mihan, a life-long Hampden Township resident. “It is exciting and fabulous because it’s so unique,” she said of the festival of food trucks while enjoying an artisan grilled cheese sandwich from Mad Dash Concessions of Lewisberry. “It brings a city flavor we do not see that often,” added her daughter Moira Mihan who attends Good Hope Middle School.
Obi Linton of Shiloh, York County, is co-owner of Soul Burrito with his wife. He thought it was great that Hampden Township organized the gathering of food trucks.
When the couple started their food truck a year ago, they wanted an enterprise that was mobile so they could go direct to customers and offer them food that was fast, fresh, new and different.
It took time to research the industry, develop a marketing plan, build up a truck from scratch and set aside money in an emergency fund. While the overhead is cheaper than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant, the days can be 14 hours long with the need for immediate clean-up and the challenges of having just enough food in the vehicle to supply consumer demand.
Vinnie Bury of York is the third-generation owner and operator of the Joe Bury’s Famous Hamburgers franchise. The family business has a history dating back to 1935.
“Food trucks are becoming more popular,” Bury said. “It is just the unique foods that we bring out to the public. They are just looking for something different.”
Joe’s Bury Hamburgers was one of 20 food trucks to participate in an April festival in York that drew almost 8,500 people.
Jeff Mitchell was there in support of his wife Emily who owns and operates Lancaster Cupcakes from both a store and a food truck. Her business offers such diverse flavors as sweet and sour watermelon, salted caramel and peanut butter fudge.
Events like Saturday tend to be big draws, Mitchell said. “The turnout is always great. People love it because they get a choice of different types of food.”
He also believed that food trucks are becoming more popular as a vehicle for entrepreneurs interested in getting a start in the business without having to pay the up-front costs associated with opening a traditional restaurant.