Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Hopes run high for food trucks near Love Field

Dallas, TX—Dallas’ newest food truck park opened with an evening of food, live entertainment and free beer on Friday, June 14 at the corner of Mockingbird and Maple. The evening was part of the park’s “soft open,” with free beer and music continuing throughout the weekend.

The park, dubbed “Fly-By Food Park,” is operated by US Food Trucks and plans to feature a carousel of local food trucks parking in the location to provide their services to local residents. Of Dallas’ several food truck parks, it is now the closest to Irving.

Whereas Austin, TX is already renowned for its local trucks, specifically around the South Congress area, truck owners in Dallas have struggled to establish themselves.

“Food truck parks have not worked. They haven’t lasted,” said Audra Denny, Owner of Pompeii, a truck that bills itself as ‘explosive Italian cuisine’. “There was a very short lived food truck park over by Heritage Village. It was not a good location, over off of Harwood. The scenery was great, the music was great, but it didn’t draw the crowds we needed.”

By contrast, Fly By prioritizes location over setting; the park occupies what was once a used car dealership. Planned renovations are minimal. “The indoor space is good, but there isn’t much we need to do,” Denny said.

Pompeii serves up novel items like deep fried risotto balls and fried ravioli. The risotto balls were excellent. Hot and gooey cheese around perfectly cooked risotto and Italian sausage, these little envelopes of Type II Diabetes also showed what has caused food trucks to flourish over the past few years: if you can deliver great food at a fraction of the cost without being tied down to an expensive piece of real estate, why not do it?

“Our truck is the only one in DFW with a full sized range; we do the same quality food as a brick and mortar, but our truck costs 60,000. You can lease a truck for 20,000 dollars even,” Denny said. That number compares pretty favorably with the hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be spent on even a modest property.

The relatively low initial investment attracts a lot of people that wouldn’t otherwise get into the restaurant business, including Cody Freeman. Freeman is an owner of Little Greek Food Truck, another truck stationed at Fly-By.

“Some friends contacted me about doing a restaurant, but I didn’t want to get into it just because of cost. We decided to give it a run at a truck and it’s been going great,” Freeman said. Little Greek serves mostly pitas and gyros, but I had a chance to try their Greek fries, a version of French fries with “Greek seasoning and feta cheese,” according to Freeman. The seasoning was subtle, but that didn’t matter; the feta was what made the dish.

So if food trucks are such a no-brainer, why haven’t Dallas food trucks thrived?

“In Ft. Worth our business is more consistent, same with Grapevine. We’ve only been to Coppell a few times, but there as well,” Denny said. “Our business is most consistent in Ft. Worth and the mid-cities. Ft. Worth pays my bills, Dallas does not.”

If that’s true, then a food truck park in Irving or other mid-cities may be a good bet for the operators. Until then, Fly-By is the nearest location to Irvingites looking for culinary oddities like fried ravioli, risotto balls and Greek fries.