Food trucks offering a wide range of inexpensive, tasty food have multiplied in Pueblo in recent years, to now total over 30 grassroots, small business success stories. Collectively this proliferation of local food trucks has added a way to showcase the delicious cultural and ethnic diversity of our community, becoming increasingly recognized as a Food City.
Puebloeans, who enjoy the small town feel of their city, have long been known for their fierce support of local mom-and-pop restaurants, are taking to the trend of “food truck following,” exploring all sorts of locally owned mobile kitchens set up in parking lots, on sidewalks, at markets, and at events at parks, sometimes solo or in groups, where some of Pueblo’s best food is made.
If you haven’t tried Pueblo street food, you’ll find that it’s an adventure to track down and try dishes from different local food trucks. One might start the day with coffee and pastries or a gourmet breakfast burrito, stop for lunch for a taco, barbecue or a slopper, then try Mexican corn for a snack, and finally take home a giant Pueblo-style Mexican or Italian combo meal for dinner.
The rise in food trucks has added economic opportunity to Pueblo. Entrepreneurs who own food trucks, often chefs, are able to run a food truck business without a lot of capital. With a lower overhead than brick and mortar restaurants, they can keep their meals in the bargain price range, perfect for office workers, students, travelers, and anyone looking for a cheap, quick, but delicious meal.
Although Pueblo has a few gourmet food trucks with extensive menu’s, most local food trucks have small menus with speciality and often ethnic items, something that those who like try different types of food, especially enjoy about them.
While the food truck industry is on the rise, Pueblo has yet to develop a “pod” area for multiple food trucks downtown as in some cutting edge culinary cities like Portland and Austin, but local event and outdoor food market organizers are increasingly featuring multiple trucks that serve tasty speciality street food.
Local breweries, pot shops, businesses and other places that don’t have full kitchens are increasingly making food trucks available in their parking lots, finding that they together attract more customers. Food trucks are also seen now at special events such as weddings, school dances, birthday parties and public gatherings.
Most of Pueblo’s food trucks are start ups from the last 5-10 years, but long time iconic Pueblo-style restaurants have taken to the trend as well. Musso’s, Pass Key, Gray’s Coors Tavern and Romero’s have all added mobile trucks to complement and market their main restaurant businesses.
Food trucks, originally called food wagons, can be traced to the late 1800s, to the chuck wagon, which served cattlemen. Mobile food trucks, called roach coaches, came along, serving construction sites and blue collar workers. Then mobile ice cream trucks and hot dog wagons became popular, before the real food truck phenomenon, which began in LA in the Great Recession of 2008, that forced many talented chefs out of the traditional restaurant scene as profits declined.
Many figured out how to buy and convert a trucks into a mobile canteens, which they went on the road with, providing instant access to their affordable food inventions. Adding to the food truck trend was the massive rise in Facebook and other social media, coupled with smart phones, allowing customers instantly access to their specials, menus and locations, so owners could inexpensively market themselves.
Here too, local food truck operators have figured out how to carve out a niche with their unique, affordable cuisine and together over 30 trucks have become an integral part of Pueblo’s culture. Food trucks are not only here to stay, it’s expected that their popularity will continue to rise, as in other trending cities, and that Puebloeans will be able to chose and even greater variety old Pueblo favorites and new signature dishes as the public becomes more aware and eager to try each one of them them out.
To assist with the local food truck trend trend, food lovers in Pueblo now have access to a new Facebook group called Pueblo Food Truck Scene, a sister group of Authentic Pueblo Eats and Pueblo Independent Magazine, where companies can post information about their menu items and changing locations. Pueblo Independent on Facebook and now online at www.PuebloMag.com will soon feature searches so locals and tourists can quickly find a particular truck or cuisine, and read reviews of both food trucks and restaurants.
Story by Jenny Paulson / Pueblo Independent
Be sure to join our new group https://www.facebook.com/groups/PuebloFoodTruckScene/
The Internet is the place to be. Are you looking for a way to spread the news about your food truck or restaurant? Are you looking to update your website or build a new one? Contact us – we’d love to help!