By Alyssa Danis
Tacoma’s first food truck pod opened on March 6, located at 1210 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy two different vendors every day between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the weekdays.
On opening week, two of the vendors, Boss Mama’s Kitchen (BMK) and Low Riders Dogs, had to close early due to code enforcement violation. Boss Mama’s Kitchen owner, Jen Gustin, is fully permitted through the State of Washington, the Health Department, and the City of Tacoma. However she was unaware of an extra curbside vending permit that was required at the new location. She shared the mishap with Trail employees when they came to visit the Pod, and on her Facebook page. Many of the other vendors registered at the new lot were missing the parking permit. Gustin spread the word to allow her fellow vendors to be fully legalized for opening week. She returned open for business on March 9.
Some of the vendors that will be featured at the Tacoma Pod for at least 60 days include: Boss Mama’s Kitchen, South Beach Cuisine, It’s Espresso on the Go, Farrelli’s pizza, It’s Greek to Me, Stacks, and Low Riders Dogs.
Each vendor offers some kind of unique charming dish, from BMK’s peanut butter and bacon burger to authentic gyros at It’s Greek to Me. There are plenty of delicious dishes to choose from. The schedule of vendors is available at www.wafoodtrucks.org/tacoma-ave-lot/.
Most of the vendors have previouslyestablished locations around Pierce County. BMK can be found at Clover Park Technical College and Half Lion Brewing Company. Farrelli’s pizza has a restaurant location on 6th Ave. However, the vendors are hoping they will get more customers by serving at the Pod. Gustin explained her hopes of providing consistency to her customers, and building a strong following, by being at the Pod twice a week. “We want to make this location a success so we can continue to work with the City of Tacoma and expand these Pods all over the city!” Gustin said.
The new location is really important to a lot of the vendors, as it is a central location in the city. It is accessible to a lot of people, and will draw a lot of business during lunch rush hours downtown.
“The new location, for us, means that we are in the heart of Tacoma … I’m literally a few blocks from the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s important for myself and my team to be involved in the community and if we can serve up some great food in the heart of the city it makes it even better! We love meeting new people, gaining repeat customers and remembering names and faces!” Gustin said.
The Pod owners have Lori Johnson of the Washington State Food Truck association to thank for the new location. She worked closely with the vendors, and the City of Tacoma, to bring the Pod to life. The Pod itself is not huge, but there is access to a parking lot for diners and a public bathroom according to the Washington State Food Truck Association. The library has agreed to let customers of the Pod use their restrooms. Although there is no official seating, there are nearby grassy areas to sit on the occasional nice day. If you’re on the search for new eats in Tacoma stop by the Pod to check out the food trucks and support local small businesses.