San Pedro To Try Out Food Trucks For First Thursday

LA's Grilled Cheese Truck

By Donna Littlejohn |


LA's Grilled Cheese Truck

Dishing out everything from cupcakes to grilled-cheese sandwiches, gourmet food trucks draw hundreds of people via word of mouth and social networking sites.

Downtown San Pedro is always looking for people.

And so the idea was born.

Under the community’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment District, plans are being made to make several of the popular food trucks a mainstay at First Thursday events, held every month to showcase downtown San Pedro’s restaurants, art studios and shops.

The target will be Seventh Street, which has fewer eateries than the rest of downtown.

“If you come into San Pedro and drive down Seventh Street, it’s a no-man’s land, if you will,” said Allyson Vought, an artist who runs Studio 356 on Seventh Street.

A trial run is set for the First Thursday event on June 2, with four trucks, including the wildly popular Grilled Cheese Food Truck, tentatively scheduled to set up shop around Seventh and Mesa streets.

Not only do food trucks provide “great food at reasonable prices,” but they create a spontaneous social hub that draws scores of people to an area, said Matt Geller, CEO of the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association.

Some trucks have tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

“People are really excited to hang out with each other,” Geller said of the food truck phenomenon. ” … People come out with their kids and their dogs and everyone’s

just talking to each other. It’s an organic public space. They leave full and their pocketbooks aren’t strained.”

The gourmet food truck trend shows no sign of waning, Geller said.

The mobile businesses often break new ground with new fusion mixes of various ethnic delicacies.

“You have Korean-Mexican fusion, Chinese-Mexican fusion, cuisines that no one would ever think of,” Geller said. “These trucks are really taking chances from a culinary standpoint and that’s exciting to the public.”

Geller has met with Vought and others from San Pedro to organize the food-truck presence at First Thursdays. San Pedro, he said, appears to be “a great location.”

“This is a best-case scenario where we get to partner with the community,” Geller said. “I was sitting with the owner of the Whale and Ale (restaurant) and he was very excited about it, they were really great to work with.”

In the past, “wildcat” trucks have come into San Pedro, Vought said, but without any coordination.

“We’re trying to get some harmonious co-existence between the local businesses and food trucks,” she said.