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After Successful Run, Food Trucks Looking to Expand Again

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s been a long road trip for food trucks in Des Moines.

“It was huge. It was the incubator for this industry,” says Nick Kuhn, who is the president of the food truck association in the metro, the Legion of Food.

The long trip started 18 months ago and this weekend they’ll finally get to where they wanted to be.

“I know I can’t speak for everyone but I know I can speak for us, we’ve had great success with our food truck,” said Misty Fontanini, food truck owner.

It wasn’t all green lights though, this trip had a ton of brake lights and detours.

”Well that was fun (laugh), that was fun,” said Kuhn.

In total, there were over half-a-dozen meetings with the city and truck owners.

“It’s really hard to tell how many meetings we had with the owners but we put in a lot of work and I think everyone walked away happy with the outcome,” said Kandi Reindl-Sullivan, City of Des Moines, City Manager’s office.

After a couple different versions of food truck rules they finally got where they are at today. “The growth of the food truck industry has been amazing,” said Kuhn.

“Successful,” is how Reindl-Sullivan would describe the food truck program over the first year-and-a-half. “It’s been really fun, too. I always thought this was going to be a success. Before we started the program, we look at other cities and they all had positive results.”

The pilot program became official in April of last year. When it started there were only four zones, where they could serve and only seven trucks took advantage of selling in those zones.

After a good run over the first six months, they started to expand the program. The number of permit holders would jump to 17 by 2016, so the city added in six parks where those trucks could also operate.

In the first year-and-half of the program, the trucks have really added to the food options downtown. Over 40 trucks sold their goods at public and private events, but the biggest change may be coming Monday at the city council meeting. A new route is expected to approved.

It will be downtown along each of these roads: Grand Ave., Locust Ave., and Walnut Ave.

“That will be huge. That will be huge. The sky walk entrances will be a big deal for us. It also opens the door for winter work,” said Kuhn.

It’s safe to say, we should get used to seeing and smelling food trucks downtown.