By LYDIA BERGLAR
Adam Moore had the idea to build a food court made up of food trucks after visiting a “food truck garden” in Pensacola, Fla. He said, “We’ve been to several food truck parks and enjoyed the food and atmosphere. We wanted to have something in Trenton that would bring together the community over something southerners love – food.”
The vacant lot between Jenkins Park and South Main Street (Highway 11) caught his eye as a promising location. Moore recalled, “Thatcher’s used to be here and it’s a great location, so when the property came up for sale, I had the opportunity to buy it. Once Thatcher’s moved, they took the structure down. I think somebody tried to do a used car lot here. Then, it sat for sale for probably a year. It was a shame for this space to not be utilized.”
An ice cream truck opened last year at the east end of the lot, and it has returned this year.
In Moore’s words, “The vision is to have a rolling array of vendors set up to appeal to a wide variety of tastes. We also plan to have a couple of stationary trucks for those who like the idea of something familiar to fall back on.”
He continued, “Dade County has a lot to offer. We’ve got some good places to eat, but if you eat out regularly, you run through them pretty quick. This is a good way to get a lot of outside food options in and have a rotating menu.”
On March 28, LaGenna’s Rolling Cantina parked at the lot (serving from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) for a trial run. Moore reported that in the first two hours, over 100 customers stopped by.
He explained, “LaGenna’s is run by a local from Lookout Mountain, but she’s based out of Catoosa County. She was wanting to try out her food truck, and our property was close enough to being done to give it a trial run.”
Moore said that the project had been kept low-key as there is still some site work to complete before a grand opening. “We’re trying to start small and let it grow. Once we get everything in place, which should be happening in the next few weeks, then I’ll reach out to other vendors and try to get a schedule and rotation.”
Parking proved to be a slight challenge during the trial evening. Moore said, “That’s one thing I’m watching. It’ll be a lot better when the city is finished repaving the lot [by the mural].”
He hopes to add more picnic tables along the creek, clean up the area, add lighting throughout the grounds, and perhaps even offer a stage for live music. “It’s centered around the idea of families and a community coming together to enjoy the outdoors in a fun and safe garden of food. I just want to make it a fun little place.”
Moore is renovating two airstream trailers which will permanently be located at the park and available for vendors to rent. This provides an option for chefs who may not want to commit to a full-time, brick-and-mortar enterprise.
He explained, “My plan is to provide the trailers and then find people who can come in and rent it. They can have their own menu.”
Moore has been learning from friends as he begins this venture, saying, “I don’t have a whole lot of background in this, so I’m relying on a lot of people who are helping me out. I do fiber optics for the telephone company and have some rental properties, but this is my first time running a business.”
Weather may impact the food truck park, but Moore will leave it up to the vendors, saying, “It’s up to the vendor whether or not they want to come out and set up.”
Moore would like to see a coffee trailer, sushi, stir fry, and potentially a craft beer trailer come to the park. He added, “Maybe someone like Lloyd Kenney can come a few weekends out of the month to do shrimp boils or fresh fish and shrimp out of the gulf. Some restaurants in Chattanooga have food trucks that they’ll send out, and I know a lady who’s local who’s interested in coming soon.”
Moore and his team are working on setting up a website and Facebook page, and they are deciding on a name for the venture. For now, check Moore’s Facebook page or The Village Idiot Facebook page to see when food trucks will be at the court.