By Vianna Davila
What a tasty experiment: San Antonio, with a twist of Austin.
That’s how many described Saturday’s grand opening of the Boardwalk on Bulverde, the Alamo City’s first mobile food truck park, serving up a smorgasbord of gourmet dishes in an outdoor atmosphere not unlike a backyard barbecue.
But these aren’t your neighborhood taco trucks.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Cory Jernigan, 25, shortly after he chowed down on a salmon sandwich from the Wheelie Gourmet, one of 11 trucks open for business at the park on Bulverde Road, between Loop 1604 and Thousand Oaks Drive. “It’s very Austin.”
“I didn’t think many people would be here actually,” said Jernigan’s girlfriend, Erin Shoemaker, 23. “Because I feel like in San Antonio this kind of thing hasn’t really hit — like the trendy stuff.”
But show up the customers did, in the hundreds, despite chilly weather and clouds. The turnout was so high some patrons waited more than 30 minutes for their meals as the lines at each station grew.
“I’m overwhelmed,” said park founder Cameron Davies.
The Boardwalk sits adjacent to Davies’ 210 Customs and Cruising Kitchens shop, where he refurbishes custom cars and outfits mobile eateries.
But he wanted to build on the already popular mobile food truck movement in San Antonio.
“It’s migrated down from California; it hit Austin,” Davies said. “San Antonio’s finally opening their eyes to something new and something hip.”
“Plus,” he said, noting the playground and planned movie night, “it’s family oriented. There’s something for every age to do.”
Though the types of food differ — from gyros to tacos, and cupcakes to organic canned-produce — all of the trucks offer gourmet items.
“There’s a difference between a taco truck and a gourmet food truck,” said Bob Mishler, owner of Uncertain Farms, a farmer’s market truck that features locally grown canned goodies. Bringing the trucks together will benefit all of the vendors, said G&G Mobile Bistro co-owner Gabe Garman.
“You can have a group of friends come out, and everybody can get what they want,” Garman said.
Besides the variety of food, the Boardwalk is also something new to the North Side, area resident Shawn Meek said.
“To see people in this area congregating, having fun, chilling, it’s a good thing,” Meek said.
There are still challenges ahead. Davies is trying to work out the truck’s schedules. At least one customer thought the park could use more tables; another hoped for better parking and outdoor heaters.
Whether San Antonio can sustain this experiment remains to be seen.
“My philosophy is, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is,” said chef and restaurateur Jason Dady, who opened his DUK Truck at the Boardwalk on Saturday. “Everyone’s saying they’re ready for it. It’s not just a magic button you turn on.”
To Davies, the time is right. Already, he’s met couples who normally drive to Austin for the “mobile food truck experience.”
“And now,” he said, “they can do it in their own backyard.”
Open for business
Food trucks at the Boardwalk:
G&G Mobile Bistro
K Hill BBQ Company
Tin Can Tacos
For hours of operation, visit http://boardwalkonbulverde.com