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The City Journals

Keep on Truckin’: Holladay City Welcomes the Food Truck Obsession

Aug 06, 2015 09:09AM ● By Bryan Scott

Eddee Johansen

By Lewi Lewis 

Street food has been part of America’s culinary heritage for hundreds of years, first catering to the dining customs of 17th-century Easterners, then slowly spreading out in all directions, evolving into a myriad of looks and tastes over the generations.  

The idea of street or mobile grub is nothing new, but the pandemic surge in the popularity of the food truck in the last 10 years is only gaining more and more traction. 

Trendy incarnate, the food truck has become the effigy of hip, and brings with it a desired idea of eastern-seaboard sophistication and sexy, laid-back west-coast-cool.

But do these nomadic culinary crates offer more than just good eats? Holladay City Mayor Rob Dahle, among others, thinks bringing food trucks into the city, in a localized area, is a way to engage residents and businesses respectively. 

“That’s what great about this,” he said of the first food truck event that took place at Holladay Village Plaza, 4670 South 2300 East, on July 15. “[It] brings people out of their houses to meet their neighbors and gather.”

Taylor Harris, general manager of the new start-up, The Food Truck League, built the business’s platform on exactly that premise: the ever-popular community-first foundation. 

“The Food Truck League strives to bring the community and food together by creating a fun and positive atmosphere,” Harris said.

 Harris quit his job to venture into this unknown, but hit the pavement with the proverbial pedal to the medal. 

The Food Truck League, Utah’s first association/network of gourmet mobile vendors, started just this year, and has worked with different cities and chambers to make a quixotic concept into a corporeality, bringing events to different locations stretching valley wide.

“We have received incredible support from the public as we work to bring great food to local communities through our events,” Harris said. “I think our rapid growth has come because we have several great partners, the food trucks who have a passion for delivering high quality food, the cities who work hard to build the community and support local businesses and everyone who comes out to our events to try what our chefs have created!  We are very excited to be a part of such a fun movement in Utah and be a part of the growing gourmet food scene.”

If one of the main objectives of Holladay City, the Chamber of Commerce and The Food Truck League by pulling this event together was to bring the community out of their houses, they certainly hit the mark. 

Lines at each food truck snaked into one another like an intricate puzzle; those who had already ordered stood in the glare of an eager sun, patiently waiting, prattling happily as live music generated entertainment. 

Eddee Johansen, a Millcreek resident and owner of the sushi restaurant Yoshi’s, (and soon to be owner of a food truck of his own), attended the event with his family. 

“People need to come together and know each other,” he said, postulating on the importance of community engagement. “If we stay in our houses … if all we do is go to work, come home, shut the door, watch television, Netflix, whatever, we become disassociated from our neighbors, from their needs.”

It is far less about the food for Johansen; he waxes philosophical: the food and the trucks a mere carapace for something much more meaningful—humanity.

These events, he added, are critical to the evolution of our society. Not only that, but they are critical to what keeps us engaged and in touch with what makes us human. 

Whether you subscribe to the transcendental far-reaching or find yourself standing on the de facto of commerce, one thing is clear: the pushing engine of the Food Truck craze is on full and pistons are working over time, sure to propel this movement far into the future.