Dallas' food truck scene expanding this month




Posted on July 14, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 14 at 12:35 PM

DALLAS - The parking lot will no doubt be one of the busiest places at Fair Park during the annual Taste of Dallas event, where curbside cuisine is being served.

The food trucks were already drawing crowds as the festival opened on Friday night.

"Our menu is a classic Cuban menu," said owner Gabriel Martinez, who just brought a Cafe con Leche truck from Los Angeles to Dallas. "We make our own pork, we make our own beef."

They are like gourmet restaurants, but they have wheels, and there is a real potential to crash.

"Difficult is an understatement," said Dain Pool, who owns two trucks in Dallas - Gandolfo's and The Butcher's Son. "I always tell people it's definitely harder than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, at least three-to-four times harder."

"It's more than 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Pool said. "I joke that the days can be 28 or 35 hours! It is almost your life."

Taste of Dallas is a premiere place to showcase food, and adding trucks seems to legitimize the industry.

"It's such a big part of the food scene in Dallas, how could the Taste of Dallas not have food trucks?" asked Taste's Dave Demer.

There are about 50 food trucks on the streets of Dallas and Fort Worth right now, said DFW Food Truck Foodie blogger Stephanie Hawkes, with another 14 expected to debut in the month of July.

But not everything has succeeded, she said.

Eight or nine have failed in Dallas due to a lack of a business plan or a misunderstanding of just how much work is involved, according to Hawkes. But many more trucks look at Dallas as the next big place to succeed.

"Cafe con Leche and Coolhaus are Los Angeles-based trucks," she said. "And in LA, where trucks are established, those trucks are starting to look at Dallas. We're predicted to be the next LA within the next five years."

Cafe con Leche owner Martinez believes it.

"I think it's a growing market," he said. "There's a lot of potential here."

Pool said Dallas is nearing the "tipping point" where trucks are going to begin flooding the market.

"At the end of summer, we'll be a big deal," he said.

But many would say they already are.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com