As we cross the Memorial Day starting line to summer, you can look forward to seeing two types of food businesses tying limbs together for a three-legged sprint: food trucks and craft brewers.
Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the 2010s, you’ve seen the food truck explosion. Until just a few years ago, the term might have conjured images of construction workers on lunch break or drunk twenty-somethings pounding the side of the all-night kebab van. (In fact, the first food truck rolled out in 1866 under the name “chuckwagon” to feed the cowboys of the Wild West.) But no more. Food trucks are everywhere - including in a star-studded Hollywood film.
Local food entrepreneurs like those behind Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Clover Food Lab, Roxy’s and Bon Me launched trucks as a means to enter food retail without the crippling capital requirements of a brick and mortar store. Now, all four businesses own brick-and-mortars (Roxy’s just opened Saturday). Headed in the opposite direction, long-time fast casual titan TGI Friday’s is about to launch a summer fleet to try to access the truck-stop-happy diners.
Pairing perfectly with this trend are the local brewers. Craft beers and ciders have likewise exploded. Boston beer experts just posted their favorites for sipping this summer. Among them are a number of New England favorites like Allagash (ME), Downeast Cider House (MA), Pretty Things (MA), Lost Nation (VT) and brand new entrant and women-owned startup Bantam Cider (MA).
Nothing says summer like a burger and beer on a balmy evening. But scoring a patio table at a popular eatery can be tougher than running with an egg on a spoon. Food trucks are constantly seeking new places to park and serve captive hungry audiences and savvy, artisan brewers like Nightshift Brewing in Everett, MA looking to draw crowds to new taprooms want nimble food vendors to roll in the grub. Such strategic partnerships are both obvious and ideal win-wins.
Like at this weekend’s Boston Calling featuring local favorites Tasty Burger, Roxy’s, and Bon Me (with beer and wine just a ring-toss away) – across music and sporting events, and markets of farmers and fleas, all summer long you are sure to spot thickets of food trucks and beer makers linking arms and vending to the crowds.
Happy Memorial Day and scrumptious summer munching on the street.