Food Trucks Grow Into Restaurants

May 30, 2014 7 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Since the 2012 launch of Jax Truckies, food trucks have rapidly changed Jacksonville's culinary scene. Today, Jacksonville is well on its way to becoming a culinary destination with trucks now breathing life into the city's established commercial districts. Here are a few food trucks that have evolved into brick and mortar restaurants.

Over the last decade, the food truck industry has taken the country by storm. According to Food Beast, roughly three million gourmet food trucks operate in the United States today. The 2012 launch of Jax Truckies brought that storm to Jacksonville as a part of an effort to promote small business growth and to encourage the City of Jacksonville to embrace the popular, rapidly growing industry.

The gourmet trend is popular with customers partly because many people have cut down on fine food dining when they go out as a result of the economic downturn in the United States. Gourmet food trucks allow them to spend the same as an average lunch costs and enjoy the gourmet style foods they love.

Food trucks have also become popular in cities across the country for their ability to help revitalize downtowns, neighborhoods and commercial districts plagued with high vacancy rates. Three reasons for this are economic vitality, creation of pedestrian friendly streets, and an easy entry into entrepreneurship.

1. Economic vitality. The experience in other cities shows that food vendors attract foot traffic to commercial districts, which means increased sales and a more vibrant retail business overall. By offering low-cost, culturally diverse foods for people on-the-go, they typically complement- rather than compete -with sit-down restaurants and give people more reasons to frequent local shopping districts.

2. Festive, pedestrian-friendly streets.  Food vendors bring positive activity to the street and add a festive, people-oriented feel that improves public safety. In many cities, food vendors provide a window into many diverse cultures, introducing people to new foods and to the pleasures of spending time in the public space of the city.

3. An entry point to owning your own business. Food vending can be an ideal first business. For a modest investment, it helps an entrepreneur develop a track record and build loyal clientele. For many immigrant and refugee communities, food vending offers a point of entry to the economy and a way to learn the food service industry.

Now this industry, which many public officials and established political lobbying groups have worked behind closed doors to limit, is physically changing our urban landscape, creating non-subsidized jobs, enhancing our tax base, establishing Jacksonville's identity as a "foodie mecca," and revitalizing neighborhoods as trucks morph into new brick & mortar restaurants.  

Here is a list of new brick and mortar restaurants in Jacksonville that have grown out of successful food trucks.

Pele's Wood Fire

Pele’s is a modern Italian-American restaurant that anchors a high profile corner in Riverside's Park & King District. The cuisine travels from the shores of Kauai, Hawaii to New Jersey from an Italian’s perspective. According to their website, they embrace their Italian-American heritage from the ’40s and ’50s and infuse it with the fresh look of today’s food. Additionally, local artisans contribute to their menu whenever possible while the culinary team strives to be organic and sustainable throughout the food preparation process. Many may not realize, but Pele's was one of the first restaurants to open in recent years after it initially gained popularity as a mobile vendor.

Images courtesy of Pele's Wood Fire.

Address: 2665 Park Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

Phone (904) 232-8545



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