Orlando, FL: Food Truck Pods Continue to Grow

Winter Park Fish Co. Nice fish tacos. Crunchy crust, moist fish, fresh lettuce, soft taco shell. Fast service.

by Anjali Fluker | Orlando Business Journal

Winter Park Fish Co. Nice fish tacos. Crunchy crust, moist fish, fresh lettuce, soft taco shell. Fast service.

A group of mobile eateries that started last spring with a Wednesday “pod” in downtown Orlando are spreading their wings — clearing the way for newbies to get a shot at local food truck stardom.

Six Orlando food trucks, which previously had been gathering on Wednesdays at Firestone Live’s Tastes and Sounds of Downtown, last week shifted to Trinity Lutheran School for a more family-friendly atmosphere. Though it was a solid start for the group known as “The Big 6,” the city of Orlando informed the group they were gathered in a residential zoned area and shut the pod down this week.

While the group searches for a new Wednesday venue in downtown, Chef Tony Adams of the Big Wheel Truck came up with a way for the Big 6 to move into another area. The group teamed with wholesaler and farmers market Eat More Produce to launch a new weekly Winter Park food truck pod on Aug. 11 at 1111 S. Orlando Ave. Though the inaugural truckers are the Big Wheel Truck, The Crooked Spoon, Korean BBQ Taco Box, Tree House Truck, the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck and Winter Park Fish Co., Chef Tony said they hope to add others in the coming weeks and rotate the participants so customers get a greater variety.

Some of the trucks did participate in a Winter Park pod at Spatz lounge for the last month or so, but Chef Tony said it was tough to draw a regular crowd because the trucks weren’t visible from the road.

Meanwhile, Firestone Live’s Wednesdays also are getting bigger, drawing about 300-500 per event. Last week, the Tastes and Sounds of Downtown introduced a new group of truckers to food truck enthusiasts. And this week, that group grew to 11 vendors: The Crepe Co., Tastebuds Catering, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, Gator Country BBQ, The Batter Bowl, Monsta Lobsta, Personal Touch BBQ, Curbie’s Sidewalk Cafe, Pinchomania, Pure Mobile Cafe — formerly Everything Organic — and the Country Chuck Wagon.

David Marren, who handles promotions/digital marketing for Firestone Live, added that the venue plans to continue to offer a variety of truckers a shot at the Wednesday pod, giving attendees more choices. Next week, it will be joined by The Gastro-Truck, Orlando’s cheesy delights truck, which last month bought the former Red Eye BBQ Truck.

Additionally, the Firestone Live crew has joined forces with the Orlando Calling music festival organizers who want to scout local and regional musicians for the festival in November, said Marren.

Speaking of The Gastro-Truck, one of the area’s newer truckers debuted the transformation of the former Red Eye BBQ Truck on Aug. 4 at the Apopka Food Truck Round-Up.

Owners Lori Bragg and Catarina Triacca didn’t look like they were going to make their kickstarter.com goal of raising $9,000 by Aug. 11. The website offers entrepreneurs a chance to raise money for projects by soliciting the general public for funds and just $3,760 was pledged as of late Aug. 10.

However, that won’t scare the new truckers away.

“We’ll just take longer to build the business, I guess,” said “Baking Goddess” Bragg.

Have you indulged in the area’s food truck get-togethers? Leave a comment below or email me.