Food truck visions for LEX

Thanks to alert reader Sherry M for the wonderful introduction to this Food Truck.  I want to do something like this here.  Imagine a truck like this driving to a Seedleaf plot/community kitchen in the morning, getting fresh stuff for the day, then driving to a central location in East End or north side and setting up and selling low cost, fresh, good food….utilizing local people who have prepared and cooked the food, local vendors for supplies, and local business people who manage it….a vertically integrated model of economic development, improved health, and environmental protection…..

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From the New York Times and Others….

It’s brand new, it’s environmentally green (and literally green and white), it cost $92,500, and now it needs a parking space.

The Ladle of Love food truck, which bills itself as New York City’s most environmentally friendly mobile noshing vehicle, has found a woodsy, high-traffic home and plenty of customers in Central Park. But it needs a permanent home at night.

For a week now, the truck has been dispensing menu items like beef stew ($6.50), mushroom barley soup ($6) and goat-cheese salad ($7) at the east-facing terrace of the Central Park Visitor Center at Tavern on the Green. Other items include sandwiches (such as a grown-up grilled ham and cheese — serrano and manchego on ciabatta with smoked paprika aioli and watercress) and desserts (such as stuffed brownies).

“We want to do business in an eco-friendly way, but to do it we need a permanent parking space,” said the owner, Leslie Lampert.

Ladle of Love is the only truck that’s not originally from New York City, and it’s the only hybrid, electric mobile food truck. It’s a custom-designed GEM — General Electric Motorcar that plugs in to recharge at night. And, Lampert says, that’s not the only way she’s green: all of her takeout containers, utensils and cups are 100 percent compostable. “We’re trying to save the planet, one cup of soup at a time,” she laughs.

And the chickpeas? They’re such a hit that residents of the Upper West and Upper East sides are already asking whether Lampert will deliver to their homes. (Yes, soon.)

“They’re a creamy, crunchy burst of truffle-kissed chickpeas,” says Lampert. “Healthier than fries. More addictive than popcorn.”

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Food truck visions for LEX

  1. Danny

    How can this get scaled to Lexington?

    I love the idea, but for 95 grand, one can just buy a storefront in Lexington and have fresh food there regularly. Part of the reason this works in NYC is the city has (1) population density; (2) real estate purchase and rental prices that make owning a market much less of a prospect.

    Lexington has neither of these on the scale of NYC (or Oakland, another place these have taken off). Why not instead look at Lexington for sources of change?

    Here in Lexington, for at least 7 months of the year (April-October) vendors could just utilize the empty park spaces for temporary market space (and thus cheap/low cost start-up for many local vendors, as opposed to the one vendor who benefits from the 100 grand food bus). Duncan Park is one near me that’s waiting for that sort of thing. So, too, is Castlewood and, perhaps less so b/c it’s somewhat land-locked, Coolavin Park. The other 5 months? A problem, true, but one that could be almost as easily remedied by purchasing a permanent location in one (or several) of the many former and current food markets that dot downtown Lexington (many of which are located not so far from the parks mentioned above). Surely 95 grand could get a head start on a permanent place here in Lexington (or provide excellent seed money to pay for several years of rent on a place), which of course it could not do in NYC, or probably even Oakland.

    • I agree that we need to think as close to local as we can – the main thing I want us to achieve is fresh local food in the northside neighborhoods – how best to do that as cheaply as possible? I like the idea of utilizing underutilized public space for market space. What mindset and legal shifts would be necessary to make that happen?

      • Danny

        I think just a willingness to break the law. There’s nothing wrong with establishing food markets in parks when they are not being use. It may be illegal, but it’s not wrong. At some point, some food growers will start pressuring the city by their actions, which will provide the stress points for any legal shifts. Seemed to work for people agitating for civil rights, and my guess is that rich white America won’t push back as much.

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