UNLESS YOU’VE been intentionally hiding under a rock while plugging your ears and closing your eyes, you probably have heard that the city passed the ordinance that will welcome the industry we’ve all been waiting for: Food trucks.
Now I’m sure we’ve all watch the great food truck race, or maybe the movie chef, and have been waiting for this wave to hit us down south. In actuality, the South has been accepting of this wave in other cities like Atlanta, Charleston, and Charlotte.
So far, most of those cities have embraced it, and dealt with the pitfalls as they came. It looks like Savannah is taking a similar approach, allowing mobile food revolution to be a part of the fabric of the city in the present, and in the future.
Food trucks represent a sense of freedom within the food industry. They represent individual creativity and drive, instead of limiting our food those who have fat bank accounts or rich parents.
Affluence shouldn’t determine who has the opportunity to shine, but unfortunately in a city like Savannah, old ways of handling business have left them stuck in the mud for decades. We can either pretend like that doesn’t exist, or we can set up an infrastructure that provides those who are really hungry to be able to express themselves through their platforms.
By no means am I painting a picture of food trucks being easier to start and maintain, or that they don’t come with similar upstart costs as opening up any brick and mortar restaurant. Anyone who approaches starting a food truck as if it isn’t just like any other business will fall flat on their face.
However, those who know the amount of work needed to make any restaurant successful, could look at the food truck industry and an opportunity to not be stuck in one place, and be able to travel with their business as it grows.
Those who are just now paying attention may not completely understand how long of a road it has been to get to this point with the food truck industry. Spearheaded by Ryan Giovanni, president of the Savannah Food Truck Association, this shift took a lot of resources, time, effort, and energy to make happen.
Another person who has contributed to pushing this wave has been Brian Maher, owner and head chef over at Dark Shark Taco, who is also on the board of the food truck association. I got a chance to catch up with him last weekend at Southbound Brewery, as they celebrated one of their newest batches.
“I grew up in the restaurant business downtown Savannah, and I always felt like food trucks were an opportunity for me to branch out and do something different,” Brian said. “For a long time, opening a food truck was sort of an off the collar statement, but I got to a point where that became less of a joke, and more of a reality.”
Which is a feeling most food truck owners now can relate to. There has been a wave of interest from the community regarding the food truck industry, full of people who are wanting to apply to have their own food truck, as well as people wanting to host food trucks in their neighborhoods and businesses.
The Savannah Food Truck Association prides itself on wanting to help those who are truly invested and interested in being a legitimate staple of the industry, however I do think people need to realize that opening a food truck is no different than opening a restaurant; in actuality it may be harder on the front end.
Preparing for this wave took a lot of forethought, and it will be continue to be a challenge for trucks to truly separate themselves from the pack. But for some trucks it will be easier than most.
“Absolute quality all the time, will allow us to withstand the rush of people who assume this industry is easy,” Brian explained. “Tacos are a way for my team and I to express ourselves, instead of working with the mundane feelings of simply pushing plates.”
Which is exactly the perspective we need in an brand new industry such as this one. Having trucks that are passionate about what they are serving, and bringing quality food on a regular basis is extremely important to the foundation of this industry.
Trucks such as Dark Shark provide creativity, and a renewed sense of culture to our city, in a way that I don’t believe Savannah has ever seen. Tacos like their “Jerk Fried Fish,” The Pollo,” and one of their most popular, their “Blueberry Flounder” taco, have revitalized Savannah’s concept of how food is supposed to be done.
Our city is in dire need of the character that has lived here behind the scenes, and I believe food trucks will be a perfect fit. Visit their website darksharktacos.com or follow them on social media to see where they will be next.
And make sure you prepare your stomachs for round two of the Savannah Food Truck Festival which will be Sunday, October 9 at Daffin Park.
Let’s keep stirring that pot, people.