Seating for customers, utility hookups and a community of similar businesses — these are the appeals of downtown Temple’s new food truck plaza.
Two local food trucks — Krab Kingz Seafood and Texas Style BBQ — were the first two businesses to make the switch from their previous locations to Temple’s “The Yard” food truck plaza. The accommodations were built by the city as part of its Santa Fe Market Trail project, and can accommodate nine food trucks at one time.
Janai Oakley, general manager for the Temple Krab Kingz food truck, said she has enjoyed the new space, 212 S. Main St., and being more connected to other businesses.
“We love having other food places around us,” Oakley said. “We eat all the time and we don’t like eating (our own food) all the time.”
Oakley’s food truck, which is part of a franchise that she operates with her mother, previously was located along South First Street in Temple.
The change has been good for both the food truck and customers. The spot has tables, chairs and trash bins available to customers, Oakley said. The site also provides electrical and water connections for the food trucks, something Oakley said her previous location did not have.
While some food trucks move around, Oakley said she plans to keep her truck stationary and serve a mixture of new customers and her previous customers who have migrated with her.
“Honestly, I feel like (business) has been the same,” Oakley said. “It hasn’t (just) been the same people, it has been a lot of new people. It has been pretty easy, we just give them the address and they pull right up.”
Temple Main Street Manager Dan Kelleher said accommodating food trucks in downtown Temple was important for the city to be open for other models of food service that are growing in popularity.
“There are many different types of food-oriented business and we want to accommodate them all,” Kelleher said. “Sometimes, food trucks will grow up from a gas station by getting permission to put some seating out, and it is functional but not very well planned out from a community planning standpoint.
The Yard, he said, “is designed to be a food truck plaza so it is laid out much more comfortably for the customers and for the food trucks.”