New Dallas food truck park plots a pocket of green in gentrifying area
A new food truck park is opening in East Dallas to serve a neighborhood that has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Called Chuckwagon ParkIt opens at N. Hall St. in 1722, just off Ross Avenue, where a group of food trucks will be housed in a park-like setting with distinctive decorative features such as reclaimed pews from church pews.
The park will be 20,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 100 people. Founder Patrick Donlin says it will debut on March 4th and will be open on evenings and weekends with up to six trucks at a time, including two staples – Butcher’s Son and Smoky Joes BBQ – as well as others turning back and forth .
Donlin, who is also restoring old houses, will decorate the park with recycled materials and commission a mural of their logo from local artist Brennen Bechtol.
“This part of town was quickly identified, mostly with apartment buildings,” he says. “We have our office in the former Buddha Center and on one side there is an open lawn with trees. We thought as a team, what can we do that will be positive for the neighborhood? Something that is outside where we can be creative small businesses can work together, and that’s what inspired them. “
Another incentive was the idea of helping food trucks, which have seen some decline during the day as people work from home rather than go to the office. The park’s hours take place during a gap when food trucks are usually not busy.
“This will primarily serve the residents of this neighborhood and Dallas who would come nights and weekends,” he says. “This allows us to optimize the space and give companies the opportunity to be exposed to the market.”
The food trucks will also innovate with special items that are otherwise not available.
“Chris Manning of Smoky Joe’s BBQ has been in the business for 25 years and his customers have their favorites,” says Donlin. “By expanding to a different location, he can try out some new flavors that he may not have in the original store.”
Donlin creates value by building a power grid that the trucks can pull from so they are less dependent on generators, which can create a lot of noise and fumes.
“We’re working to make it environmentally friendly,” he says. “I’m very fond of recycling, and that includes things like using church pews for seating and setting up a kindergarten with trees.”
Eventually, they’ll expand it into a farmers market event where small businesses can open a shop for a day to complement the food.
There are parking spaces on the premises with a total of up to 25 spaces – although given the large number of residential buildings that have sprung up in the area, a good majority of visitors will likely come on foot.