Houston, TX: Houston Food Truck Parks Plots Next Location in Downtown Houston

Photo By Jamaal Ellis Though most get their food and head back towards their jobs, there is a sitting area at Houston Food Park near Downtown on Thursday, March 13, 2014

By Craig Hlavaty  |  Chron.com

Photo By Jamaal Ellis  Though most get their food and head back towards their jobs, there is a sitting area at Houston Food Park near Downtown on Thursday, March 13, 2014
Photo By Jamaal Ellis Though most get their food and head back towards their jobs, there is a sitting area at Houston Food Park near Downtown on Thursday, March 13, 2014

 

The men behind the Houston Food Park, which has made its home off St. Emanuel off Leeland in East Downtown since Summer 2013, have announced plans to open up their second location, near the Toyota Center.

Tirzo Ponce with the HFP said this week that he and his business partner Miguel Villegas have joined forces with the owners of Phul Court, a defunct bar off Leeland and Austin streets on the south end of Downtown Houston, to open up a second spot for food truck parking.

That bar catered to food trucks but when it opened the truck scene wasn’t what it is at this point, Ponce said.

“There weren’t too many trucks at that time that were all electrical, which was the only way that trucks at that time could operate in downtown,” he said. When it became clear that the City of Houston would ease regulations on trucks being able to use propane in downtown, Ponce saw an opportunity.

Ponce said that they are aiming to open the new location the weekend after Thanksgiving, just as Black Friday shoppers will be laying waste to sales racks.

“Maybe we can lure some people away from the malls or they can at least stop by and see us between shopping shifts,” Ponce laughed. If they can’t open up that weekend they will be aiming for the next weekend. There will be plenty of heaters on site just in case Houston’s weather takes a frosty turn.

Since the original HFP opened in June 2013 over a sweltering weekend it’s grown by leaps and bounds, Ponce said.

“At this point you could probably open up a food truck park anywhere in Houston and do well,” he said.

Mhoto By Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle  Mayor Annise Parker orders food from The Modular food truck, which is cooking with propane, outside of the Houston Public Library's Central Library downtown Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Houston. Propane-fueled food trucks are now officially allowed to operate in downtown Houston. Mayor Annise Parker announced in August that she intended to lift a longstanding ban on food trucks in the downtown business district, letting the trendy operations use propane tanks weighing up to 60 pounds.
Mhoto By Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle Mayor Annise Parker orders food from The Modular food truck, which is cooking with propane, outside of the Houston Public Library’s Central Library downtown Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Houston. Propane-fueled food trucks are now officially allowed to operate in downtown Houston. Mayor Annise Parker announced in August that she intended to lift a longstanding ban on food trucks in the downtown business district, letting the trendy operations use propane tanks weighing up to 60 pounds.

This fall Ecclesia Church purchased the old Meridian music venue building where the HFP makes its home in the adjacent parking lot. Ecclesia will soon be renovating the spot to make room for a congregation center and a coffeehouse. Ponce says that the church and the park will get along symbiotically.

“Everyone has expressed interest in us staying there. It’s a moderate church that won’t mind that we sell beer near them,” Ponce said. While the newest HFP will eventually sell mixed drinks in addition to beer and wine, the park next to the church will only sell beer and wine out of respect for the church.

Just a block away from the HFP/Ecclesia complex a mixed use development is coming up, said Ponce, which will only mean more business for everyone once it’s completed. Right now some of the biggest days at the park are when the Houston Dynamo are playing at nearby BBVA Compass Stadium.

There is still a lingering dispute over parking in the area to work out, he said, but that shouldn’t derail anyone’s plans.

For the new park Ponce said that they will be scheduling late night shifts around events at Toyota Center when there are basketball games or concerts.

“We can accommodate up to ten trucks in that parking lot if needed and we will be offering some indoor dining with TVs for sports and even food events if we want,” Ponce says. Don’t be surprised if they start throwing more parties either with the newfound space.

Ponce said that they are also mulling over breakfast options at the new park to take advantage of hungry and coffee-starved worker bees coming into town.

We’re still waiting on someone to finally rev up a breakfast cereal truck in Houston, complete with six kinds of milk and every sugar-shocked cereal known to man.

http://www.chron.com/life/food/article/Houston-food-truck-parks-plots-next-location-in-5869640.php