Sonoma: Food Truck Gathering Finds New Home

Keith Thompson, left, orders lunch from Zach Advocate at the Mobile Indian Karma food truck during lunch at O'Reilly's parking lot in Sebastopol. Crista Jeremiason / PD

By BOB NORBERG | THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Food trucks made their way to the O'Reilly's parking lot in Sebastopol where a lunch crowd including from left clockwise, Amber Roberts, Sonia Zapien Matt Roberts, Carrie Johnson and Traci VanPatten had meals from La Texanita, Street Eatz Mobile Kitchen and Fork Catering. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)

A steady stream of customers were lined up Thursday at four vending food trucks serving lunch in Sebastopol at Totally Truckin’ Thursday.

“It’s an awesome event,” said Adam Goldberg of Sebastopol. “You have Indian food, Mexican and sandwiches. It expands what’s available in Sebastopol.”

Goldberg was among dozens of people in the parking lot of O’Reilly Media, where employees had set up tables under the trees to create a festive air.

“It’s close by, the prices are very good, and it is good quality,” said Keith Lacy, who works for O’Reilly’s Safari Books Online.

“And we get to conversate,” said Jason Darnell, an O’Reilly employee.

Keith Thompson, left, orders lunch from Zach Advocate at the Mobile Indian Karma food truck during lunch at O’Reilly’s parking lot in Sebastopol. Crista Jeremiason / PD

The four-week-old event is modeled after Munch Mondays, the Santa Rosa lunchtime gathering of food vending trucks that was discontinued after generating opposition from downtown restaurants.

While Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce officials said some restaurant owners have quietly voiced reservations, the event has yet to generate a city complaint, said Kenyon Webster, Sebastopol’s planning director.

Click here for more photos from the event.

The city issued a temporary use permit good for three months, restricting the event to four trucks and requiring truck owners to have insurance and Sebastopol business licenses.

Organizer Sarah Piccolo of Fork Catering said she also went to all of the neighboring restaurants beforehand so it wouldn’t catch them by surprise.

Each week, a percentage of sales has been given to local nonprofit agencies, including the Ceres Community Project, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and Climate Protection Campaign.

“By giving to local nonprofits, I am trying to make it a community event,” Piccolo said.

Unlike Santa Rosa’s Munch Mondays, Totally Truckin’ Thursday is held at a private parking lot, not on city property, and was invited there by O’Reilly, said Sherry Huss, director of the company’s Make magazine.

James Potts, a Safari Books Online employee, said it adds variety to Sebastopol’s lunch fare. He is a supporter, even it if does take business away from standard restaurants.

“I think it does, but over the years, the amount of business we are doing in local restaurants, it evens out,” Potts said.

http://sebastopol.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2011/05/news/food-truck-gathering-finds-new-home/