Food truck events in Boulder County

Boulder -- Pilot program began June 1.

Food trucks can operate at several public parks -- Tom Watson Park, Foothills Community Park, North Boulder Park, Harlow Platts Park and East Boulder Community Park -- from 8 a.m to 8:30 p.m. daily.

They can also operate at the municipal campus parking lot from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays and for late-night service at the northwest corner of Broadway and Arapahoe Avenue from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Sundays.

Longmont -- 5 to 8 p.m. Saturdays at Twin Peaks Mall; 5:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays at Prospect Downtown Park

Lafayette -- 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays at Art Night Out, Public Road

Erie -- 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at Vista Ridge HOA, Skyline parking lot

Louisville -- 5 to 8 p.m. on seven Wednesdays this summer at Community Park

Just two food truck events have been held at Louisville's Community Park this spring, but already the crowds turning out for them are five to 10 times larger than what they were projected to be.

While on its face that's a good thing for the city, friction among neighbors near the park and restaurants downtown has cropped up as more than 2,000 people -- 200 to 400 participants was the original estimate -- descended on the park May 22 and again last Wednesday for "Food Trucks in the Park."


Advertisement

The trucks, which are new this year, serve everything from ice cream from Sweet Cow to puffy pastries from Waffle Cakes to Vietnamese-inspired cuisine from Manna from Heaven.

The Louisville City Council discussed the event Tuesday night, with varying opinions expressed as to its impacts. Councilman Ron Sackett said he worries about food trucks taking business away from the 20 or so restaurants in the downtown district, while Councilwoman Emily Jasiak said there is room for everyone to succeed.

Mayor Pro Tem Hank Dalton said the city will evaluate the event at the end of the summer before deciding whether to issue another permit in 2014. He said he and his fellow council members will work toward determining a happy medium between the advocates of food trucks, which have recently sprouted up just about everywhere in Boulder County, and those who feel they don't fit into the community.

"We're going to see what can be done to make it palatable to everyone," Dalton said.

"Food Trucks in the Park," which is scheduled for five additional Wednesdays through the end of August, is coupled with a free movie showing on a 46-foot-tall inflatable screen at Community Park. That has drawn complaints from some residents near the park, who say the film volume is too loud and the crowds visiting the food trucks too unruly.

Joe Stevens, parks and recreation director for Louisville, said with available parking near Community Park claimed early in the evening, some folks are forced to walk relatively long distances to get to the site.

"Some of us tend to take shortcuts and cut across someone's front or back yard," he said.

But for the most part, he said, "It's a well-behaved crowd" and most of the feedback he has gotten on the event has been positive. The organization running it, Project Louisville, did an excellent job cleaning up after the events last month and last week, he said.

And food trucks pay sales tax to the city, Stevens said, while attracting new people to Louisville who might not otherwise visit.

"Food trucks have quite a following," he said. "We believe it's a good endeavor, and we want to move forward with it."

The city recently approved a bump in the number of food trucks that can operate at the event -- from eight to 12 -- to help alleviate some of the long lines that form among the famished. The 12-truck rule goes into effect at the next "Food Trucks in the Park" event, June 26.

Todd Stevenson, head of Project Louisville and food truck guru in the city, said he is trying to work out issues with neighbors while smoothing over relations with the downtown restaurants. He said the positioning of the movie screen -- the movie component of the event is run by a separate organization -- was adjusted to reduce sound carry.

As for the restaurants, Stevenson tells them that food trucks have the potential to boost their business in the long run.

"I tell them to take a look down the street to where we are, and 90 percent of the people you are seeing are people from outside Louisville or from other parts of the city who haven't been to downtown in a while," the Louisville resident said. "I'm a big believer in trying to bring to people what is a really good fit for the community."

He said new food trucks are scheduled for next week, including the popular pink Comida taco truck and Salt Box, an upscale sandwich and salad truck. Several of the event's trucks, he said, are from Louisville, including Sweet Cow and Top of the Hill Grill West.

"There's something for everyone," Stevenson said. "The food trucks are really complementing what Louisville wants."

But Judy Goodson, president of the Louisville Downtown Business Association, said her group would rather see food trucks operating out of the Colorado Technology Center, where there are virtually no established restaurants trying to stay in business, rather than just a few blocks outside downtown.

She said Louisville's Main Street restaurants not only generate sales tax for the city but they also contribute to the city's coffers through property tax proceeds, which food trucks don't pay.

"We have 20-plus restaurants in historic downtown, and our mission at DBA is to showcase those restaurants," she said. "Our first responsibility and first allegiance is to the downtown businesses."