For some food trucks, St. Louis neighborhoods are the new hotspot | Off the Menu
Long before the pandemic, Cha Cha Chow was one of three food trucks parked near Euclid and Forest Park avenues in 2011.
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When Farmtruk served its first customers in more than two months on Tuesday, the food truck was not parked on a company campus or in the city center. Instead, it visited a residential area near Creve Coeur.
The beauty of the food truck model, says owner Samantha Mitchell, is, “We can bring you food.” As the coronavirus pandemic has kept people at home, trucks are increasingly booking visits to the neighborhood. Blues Fired Pizza from Kirkwood did this to St. Peters, Tower Grove South Cha Cha Chow to Belleville.
Sam Burke, owner of Cha Cha Chow, says neighborhoods have been an untapped market until now, although they’re not that different from the places trucks typically go. You go where the people are.
“And now people are at home with them all the time,” he says.
This could also be the case when businesses reopen. In addition to running the Hawaiian Grill des Trucks Buzz, Buzz Moore also manages popular food truck hangouts for the St. Louis Food Truck Association. He says most of the companies at these hotspots told him they were about 15% busy.
“And that doesn’t make it feasible for a food truck,” says Moore.
Buzz’s is one of several trucks that allow customers to place orders online for a specific pick-up time instead of having to order at the truck and wait for their food. Moore said his truck experimented with this system before the pandemic this winter so customers wouldn’t have to wait in the cold.