It’s 11:58 a.m. on a Wednesday. You cringe as your stomach emits a low rumble. Your eyes dart frantically to the clock, and you’re faced with that all too familiar dilemma: “What’s for lunch?”
Well, fear not, good citizens of Sacramento. Help is on the way!
With the help of a recently launched website, Grubtopia, hungry locals will now have the ability to access Sacramento’s diverse food scene with the click of a mouse. Creator Ali Tabatabai hopes that his newest creation will help provide a forum in which residents and local food providers can connect.
Tabatabai noticed the success of both numerous food blogs and popular websites like reddit.com and was inspired to create a website that was specific to the Sacramento region and its growing food community.
“One of my main goals is to help facilitate a greater harmony and connection between urban food lifestyles and the farmlands which provide the fresh ingredients,” he said.
With the help of friends and a team of computer programmers, Tabatabai is turning his vision into reality. His first goal for Grubtopia is to create a mobile food tracker which will allow people to access information on their favorite mobile food trucks through online menus, streaming news feeds and an interactive map.
The mobile food truck phenomenon has spread throughout the country, recently gracing Sacramento streets with their innovative and tantalizing culinary creations. The city is home to several pioneering mobile food truck vendors, including Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen and Mini Burger, both finalists in the casting contest for next season’s “The Great Food Truck Race” on the Food Network.
Unlike typical brick-and-mortar restaurants, mobile food truck vendors have the unique ability to conveniently move their entire business from place to place.
“I really enjoy being able to travel all over Sacramento and reach out to so many people,” Andrew “Drewski” Blaskovich said. Described as “twisted comfort food with an edge,” Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen is popular for their gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
Yet, in Sacramento there are ordinances which make this type of business increasingly difficult to operate. Currently, one of the most controversial city laws prohibits mobile food trucks from remaining in the same spot for more than 30 minutes.
Reversing such strict regulations is the goal of both mobile food vendors and local groups such as SactoMoFo. Co-founder Joshua Lurie-Terrell acknowledges that both he and his wife’s love of quality street food contributed to the group’s creation.
“We had some of the most amazing street food during a trip to Thailand,” Lurie-Terrell said. “When we returned home, we were disappointed that there was nothing quite like that offered in Sacramento.”
SactoMoFo has inspired local support of mobile food trucks through community events, including the extraordinarily popular Sacramento Mobile Food Festival in April and last week’s El Grito festival downtown.
One of the main goals of SactoMoFo and Grubtopia is to provide greater access to inexpensive, high-quality food by transforming city ordinances. Members from both groups expect to collaborate on achieving such goals in the future.
“We want to help make it easier and more cost-effective for mobile food vendors to run their businesses by fostering communication and letting customers know what’s available to them,” Tabatabai said. “We’re not exactly sure just how to accomplish all of this yet, but we’ll take it one step at a time.”