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The move of seasoned pigs from food trucks to stationary restaurants is a journey that many formerly mobile food operators have undertaken. And while this is happening amid a pandemic that has limited restaurants’ ability to operate with all cylinders, it seems like a dubious time to transition, food trucks have seen their own setbacks this year.
Jacob Viers built his business with seasoned pigs at both street sales and booked events, and these had largely dried up across the food service industry by 2020. While serving outdoor food from the window of a food truck seems like a better and safer option than accommodating dozens of people in a restaurant dining room, there have been few ways to do it – at festivals, truck rallies, and private bookings last year. Plus, the food truck business has traditionally been a warm weather gig, even in its prime.
Moving things around indoors can create a layer of stability even with a capacity of 25 or 50 percent. Also, the type of food served by mobile vendors is often designed to travel well. Hence, the take-out business can be an important part of sales until the capacity constraints ease.
Crock Spot moved to a restaurant after a decade on the street.
Courtesy of Crock Spot
Seasoned pigs aren’t the only food truck to find permanent homes since the pandemic began. Crock Spot, one of Denver’s oldest street vendors, moved to 4045 Pecos Street in the Sunnyside neighborhood in early November and is currently building a second location near East 28th Avenue and Fairfax Street in Park Hill. Near the Berkeley neighborhood, Natascha Hess turned her successful Ginger Pig truck into a freestanding restaurant that opened the same week as Crock Spot on 4262 Lowell Boulevard.
The Adobo Food Truck recently took over the kitchen in the First Draft Taproom at 1309 269 Street in RiNo, and Jared Leonard’s Budlong Hot Chicken has moved from serviced restaurants in Chicago to a food truck in Denver, a food hall counter (in Zeppelin, expanded) station) and finally a stationary operation in Denver at 81 South Pennsylvania Street. The Venezuelan street food specialist Quiero Arepas, who opened its third permanent location in the new Avanti food hall at 1401 Pearl Street in Boulder, also expanded last year. Other converts include King of Wings at 7741 West 44th Avenue at Wheat Ridge and Danger Zone Calzones at 32 Broadway.
Sometimes you have to hit the brakes and park if you want to continue driving.
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Mark Antonation is the Westword Food & Drink Editor. He began eating and writing about every restaurant on Federal Boulevard, and continues to report on Metro Denver’s diverse international food scene and the city’s rapidly changing dining landscape. Mark was named an Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association in 2018.