Going to where the people are is Food Truck 101. But when large gatherings become illegal and crowds are catalysts for a contagion, what’s a truck to do? Adapt, just like their brick-and-mortar brethren.
Zuppardi’s Apizza of West Haven has a truck that was used primarily for catering and to serve hungry beer-drinkers at The Hops Company in Derby. But in late March, Zuppardi’s launched a driveway service through which customers could schedule a 30-minute appointment for the truck to park at their home and prepare an order ($60 minimum). The Zupps Truck has been traveling to different towns almost every day since then.
In New London, Food Trucks on Colman is the creation of a collaboration between Woodfellas Pizza & Wings and Uncle D’s Blazin’ BBQ. Like Zuppardi’s, everything is legal because the trucks park on private property — in this case the parking lot of Dollar General on busy Colman Street. “Instead of me waiting for something to happen, I created it,” says Woodfellas owner Bob Currier.
The new New London group has a rotating lineup that also includes Savage Spatula, Pop’s Premium Ice Cream and Gourmet Buffet — and they’re looking for more to join the convoy. Go Truck Yourself and Yoko Loko are among the “special guests” which make occasional stops. “I’ve got my kids and family to take care of and I couldn’t sit around and wait for a stimulus check that would never come,” Currier says. “I had to control my own destiny.” The Woodfellas truck is reducing its time on Colman from four days a week to one in the summer to fulfill other obligations. But Currier says that opens up a spot for a newer, less-established truck to get some business. He says he hopes to keep the lot going year round, “as long as we’re welcomed.”
One of the most well-known and established food truck destinations in Connecticut is in Long Wharf between the New Haven Harbor and I-95. Those trucks were ordered to close back in March and reopened in May with a requirement to wear masks and a plethora of signs reminding customers to practice social distancing.
The 3B Burger Bar food truck from Northford’s 3B Ranch is now a pop-up parked in Hamden at MiKro Depot, serving burgers, chicken sandwiches, ribs and poutine, giving customers more options in addition to MiKro’s takeout and outdoor-dining offerings. A recent event featured sister restaurant TexiKo doing a one-day truck takeover.
Stratford’s Oar & Oak added a food truck in April and an ice cream trailer in May. The truck initially operated at Our Lady of Peace Church before relocating to the Knapp’s Landing lot and opening up along with the new Oar & Oak Creamery.
With the future and practicality of indoor dining still very much up in the air, trucks and restaurants are teaming up to bring food to the people. Whether filled with picnic tables, cars, food trucks or trailers, chefs and owners are going to great lengths to make sure parking lots don’t remain empty.