It hasn’t been easy being a fan of Atlanta’s food truck fare. The enormously popular street food has only been available on the odd day or evening, in different locales around the city.
Those who craved a Yum Yum Cupcake or one of Dottie’s Tasty Wraps had to follow each of the vendors online or keep the Atlanta Street Food Coalition’s calendar handy.
Now, finding the mobile menus is considerably easier with the opening of a permanent location in Buckhead.
The Atlanta Food Truck Park debuted April 26 at 1850 Howell Mill Road, a tiered lot with sweeping views of I-75. But ambiance isn’t the attraction here; the crowds who thronged the space through the weekend showed up for servings of island barbecue, gourmet hot dogs, tacos, cheese steaks, meatball sandwiches and more.
The park is the brainchild of co-owners Brian Harvin and Howard Hsu, who wanted to connect the cooks with their fans seven days a week.
“We’ve seen how other cities like Austin and Portland, Ore., have permanent places, and we knew the trucks were really popular here,” Harvin said. “But we wanted to make it a place the whole community could use.”
It took a year for the partners to secure a lease on the 3-acre site, clean it up, put in parking areas and set up shaded picnic tables. The main truck lot has room for 16 vendors to surround additional tables. The plan is to offer lunch and dinner daily, though things got a bit sidetracked over the first weekend, when trucks ran out of food and needed to shut down early and on Sunday to restock.
“We’ve just been slammed,” said Harvin. “The first night we opened, we were sold out by 8 p.m.”
Jackson Smith, owner of Honeysuckle Gelato, kept busy dishing out a selection from his company’s 29 Southern-inspired cold treats.
“We’re lucky; our kitchen is right around the corner, so we could keep refilling,” he said. “We’re planning on being here every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night and Saturday during the day. But it’s great that people will be able to come here every day and find a variety of food.”
In fact, Harvin and Hsu insisted that participating vendors not duplicate menus. For Brian Fernandez, co-owner of Hottie Hawgs BBQ, that meant putting a twist on the traditional Southern fare.
“We came up with a different menu of jerk chicken in banana leaves, cilantro-buttered corn-on-the-cob and island-spiced pork sandwiches,” Fernandez said. “And it’s been a hit. Even I’m blown away. They’ve thought of everything to make this place work.”
The park, visible behind a chain link fence on Howell Mill, is accessed by car from nearby Beck Street.
Just inside the gates is a playground, bocce area and room for a farmers market, musical performances and artists fairs. Diners are invited to bring their own chairs and blankets to spread out on the lawn.