Mobile Meals: Food Trucks in West Michigan
With the hype of new shows on the Food Network and recent news coverage, Food Trucks have popped up all around the country as a fun, on-the-go alternative to dine-in restaurants. A staple for years in larger cities, such as San Francisco, New York City, Portland, and Los Angeles, food trucks have begun the integration into smaller cities as of late. West Michigan has been no exception with the emergence of What the Truck and The Silver Spork in Grand Rapids.
Back in June 2012, Grand Rapids made the official call to allow food trucks in downtown Grand Rapids. City commissioners voted to amend the zoning ordinances and allow food trucks to operate on private property for periods of time. The decision came after many delays, heavy debate, and some opposition from a few restaurants in the area.
What The Truck and The Silver Spork, located in West Michigan, both base their food truck concepts on relatively similar missions and visions. The trucks source locally grown food whenever possible and structure their menus upon what the local farmers have in season. Both trucks make all their food from scratch and made-to-order. You can find the trucks parked outside various farmers’ markets in the area (Fulton St. Farmers’ Market, Ada Farmers’ Market), attending local events (Rock the Rapids, ArtPrize), and even catering your event or family get-together!
Paul Lee, owner of What the Truck, stresses the dedication to local and Michigan products for each of their menu options. “For breakfast, our eggs come from River Valley Poultry Farm in Kingley, MI. The cheese is made by Amish farmers at Farm Country Cheese House in Lakeview, MI, and our tortillas come from a Grand Rapids company, El Milagro.” What the Truck also provides gluten-free, vegan, and dairy free options with a main focus on excellent food. Lee also owns The Winchester restaurant, which is the “mother-ship” of the What the Truck concept.
The Silver Spork owner, Molly Clauhs, relates her dedication to healthy, balanced food for her truck to what she would feel comfortable feeding to her family. “This doesn’t mean using questionable ingredients just to amp up flavor. No excessive fat or salt or anything else that isn’t good for us. I let fresh, healthy, flavorful ingredients speak for themselves. I try to make meals balanced in color and texture plus incorporate hearty grains like quinoa or whole grain breads.” Clauhs is stationed primarily outside of farmers’ markets in the area, therefore, she receives the majority of her truck’s goods from vendors.
What menu options would you like to see from a local food truck?
Photo credit: Michigan Municipal League (MML)