RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – As more food trucks and carts roll into Richmond, the culinary landscape in the River City is changing.
In fact, Liz Kincaid, the manager of the newly opened Tarrant’s food cart, offers up chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits.
There are no less than a dozen rolling restaurants set up shop each weekday downtown. They offer customers a wide variety of upscale food at reasonable prices.
And it’s not just great for customers. The food truck owners get to test the culinary scene without having a brick-and-mortar eatery.
“The food truck courts have created for us the restaurant environment without the overhead,” said food truck owner Patrick Harris.
Harris’ Boka Tako truck arrived on the scene nearly three years ago to rave reviews. The colorful truck attracts hundreds of hungry customers every week at 9th and Cary.
Additionally, the standard fare of on the go lunch like burgers and lunch at these trucks. It is more like braised lamb and pork bellies. The only thing missing is the fine china and white tablecloths.
“We’ve also been featuring things like tarragon with smoked mackerel and smoked grape and pickled papaya with a blue crab saffron bisque sauce. It is definitely helping our local economy,” said Harris. “And definitely helping our food industry locally.”
As for competition between the trucks and carts? The workers we spoke with say none exists and that the trucks complement each other because they offer different things.
Karri Peifer, senior food writer for Richmond.com, says these mobile restaurants are changing the culinary culture in Richmond.
“The question is what can you find it is not what can’t you find,” said Peifer. “Anytime there are more dining options or good food out there the diner ultimately wins.”
And Harris is planning an expansion of his rolling Boka Tako truck empire.
“That is why you can come here and dine very nicely,” said Harris. “This has created an opportunity for people to dine quickly and healthfully and that is where we are creating a niche in today’s economy.”
So is this new way to dine out a food truck fad? Foodies say no way and that there is still plenty of room for more.
“It is supply and demand,” said Peifer. “As long as RIchmonders want it. The food trucks will keep coming.”