Food trucks may be the future of urban lunch — I hope so! — but not yet, not in DC.
Today’s (and yesterday’s) Curbside Cookoff brought 20 of DC’s finest food trucks (who knew there were so many? And there were others that couldn’t get in) together at the old convention center site to feed the masses, and raise awareness that the trucks exist, and offer delicious food, and, they hope, should be allowed to ply DC’s streets for business. Many brick/mortar restaurateurs aren’t crazy about the food trucks, however, and how the trucks are to be regulated has become a hot issue.
I welcome the food truck invasion, though so far they don’t spend much time at Metro Center. We have many lunch options around here, but most are either expensive or sandwiches (within three blocks of me, there are two Subways, two Potbellys, a Firehook, five million Starbucks, a Pret a Manger, plus Amorini Panini just opened on F near 9th — AP will be a regional chain someday but this is their first store and it looks promising). I like sandwiches, but seriously, how many is enough? What I crave is good, quick, affordable Thai or Chinese or Indian or Mexican or Korean or Salvadoran food for lunch (no, the shops (other than Five Guys) upstairs at F and 13th don’t count — I said good), and you don’t see any of that here, but you will if the food carts are allowed to proliferate. Restaurant owners or franchisees who worry about the trucks taking their business should branch out beyond sandwiches and hot dogs. Meanwhile, I am left to track the whereabouts of various trucks that don’t come quite close enough to me — lots of ways to find them.
So, Curbside Cookoff. It’s a lovely day and I had a lovely walk up to where the trucks are. I arrived at 11:35 and already the lines were preposterously long. For every truck. I didn’t have that kind of time today, so no food truck food for me. I look forward to the day when food trucks are a normal part of the downtown DC landscape and the frenzy has died down a bit.