In recent weeks hundreds, or perhaps thousands of people have been tweeting about and lining up at food truck courts to grab a dinner comprised of varied street foods. How will the success of these mobile food courts affect Miami’s brick-and-mortar establishments?
As far as fine dining restaurants go, it won’t: Those looking for French cuisine aren’t going to flip a coin to decide between Caza Crepes and Palme d’Or. And the truck rendezvous won’t be running over small ethnic restaurants either. For one thing, the only ethnic foods being peddled by truckers are Mexican and Asian. Central and South American foods are hardly presented, nor is pizza, sushi, and a whole host of cuisines that define most neighborhood ethnic eateries.
The only restaurants that might get nicked by the surging food truck business are those moderately-priced venues that fail to offer value — which covers the vast majority of our moderately-priced venues. These rip-off joints have already been affected adversely by the rise in affordable Asian noodle bars and such. Let’s hope the food truck movement provides the nail-in-the-coffin as payback — these restaurateurs have been overcharging the public in an obscene manner for too long.
Seriously. Mediocre food at inflated prices needn’t be accepted anymore. We’ve got alternatives now. The average “mid-range” Miami restaurant these days charges around $11 for some crummy starter and $9 for a tepid tiramisu. Taking just that $20 – meaning not including what patrons overpay for main course, beverages, tax, tip, etc.– a food court attendee can have a crispy duck sandwich ($7) and generous side of gingered brussels sprouts ($4) from professional chef Richard Hale (Dim Ssam a go go), add a fried snapper sandwich from The Fish Box ($5), and then partake of a Meyer lemon tart or Krispy Kreme bread pudding or any one of the fresh quality desserts from the Sugar Rush truck ($3 each). You could eat all that and have a dollar left over — and as a bonus, you won’t have to listen to a poorly trained waiter drone on about how the tiramisu was baked by the owners mother and is a specialty of the house.
Miami restaurant-goers have been victimized for too long. With the rise in affordable Asian eateries and the food truck courts, we just don’t have to take it anymore.