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Garcia Taco truck rolls into downtown

Jose Garcia's Taco truck sits parked at its location near the Flint RiverQuarium downtown.

Jose Garcia's Taco truck sits parked at its location near the Flint RiverQuarium downtown.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Jose Garcia loves a good taco, and he knows where you can get one.

He's the owner and proprietor of Garcia Taqueria, the only Mexican restaurant in Albany that gets an EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon. And, for now, he's parked downtown.

"I've been in Albany about three years," Garcia says from inside his truck between customers. "I go to the flea markets and to the festivals and just wherever the city will let me. ... Now we're trying downtown."

Hardly a new phenomenon, food trucks have been a staple in larger cities for years, using their mobility to bring the food to those who wouldn't venture out to a restaurant.

Ross Resnick, founder of the all-things-food-truck website RoamingHunger.com, expects the proliferation of food trucks to continue throughout the nation. In an interview with the Nation's Restaurant News, he predicted that a growing number of food trucks will hit the streets in coming years.

"It's an industry that is in its infancy," said Resnick, whose website is one of the most thorough trackers of food truck growth. "It's a brand-new business."

Resnick said that since 2009, the number of trucks listed on the Roaming Hunger website has grown 710 percent to more than 2,300. And food truck growth is anticipated to reach another 260 percent by 2014, he said.

Some of the earliest food trucks hit the streets in California, which is where Garcia and the taco truck idea intersect.

"Before I came to Albany, I lived in California," he said. "I've been in a Mexican restaurant, and then I got the truck."

When Downtown Manager Aaron Blair posted about the truck on D'town Albany's Facebook page for "Taco Thursday," he didn't know the reaction it would create.

"It's was kind of funny. You had people going down there, posting photos about the taco truck," Blair said.

But, like everything else, there are issues associated with having a new eatery downtown -- mobile or not -- that Blair has to be cognizant of.

"We have to be aware of the impact it could have on our existing brick-and-mortar restaurants if we have an unhindered flow of food trucks downtown," Blair said. "So we need to make sure that we have some guidelines that make sure everyone has an opportunity to succeed so that we don't create too much competition."

Blair said that since Garcia moved downtown this week, he's gotten calls from other people who want to set up their mobile kitchens downtown as well; a stark contrast to the recent headlines touting the exodus of two of the major players in the downtown restaurant scene, Riverfront Barbecue and Cafe 230.

In fact, Riverfront has been trying out its own mobile kitchen near the Albany Mall, occupying a part of a vacant parking lot off North Westover Boulevard.

Comments

VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

You just can't beat free rent.

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jglass 1 year, 2 months ago

I heard his food was good, however he needs a translater so he can have a better flow getting the customers taken care of.

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Thurman 1 year, 2 months ago

"In fact, Riverfront has been trying out its own mobile kitchen near the Albany Mall, occupying a part of a vacant parking lot off North Westover Boulevard." Mr. Sumner, surely you, of all people, are aware by now that Riverfront B-B-Q's mobile restaurant is not located in a vacant parking lot. The "vacant parking lot" was leased and utilized by "Moe's Southwestern Grill" which resulted in Riverfront's trailer being re-located.

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VSU 1 year, 2 months ago

Actually The Riverfront BBQ truck is in the Badcock Furniture Parking lot area.

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LuLu 1 year, 2 months ago

And if it's sitting in the same place every day, then it's not really mobile. You still have to drive to where it is, not wait for it to get where you are.

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rightasrain 1 year, 2 months ago

At least this guy can just drive away when business slows. Encouraging "meals on wheels" to move to downtown simply means that Blair won't be on the hot seat when they leave the downtown area because these "restaurants" aren't located in a permanent location, so technically, they haven't "lost" another downtown business.

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whattheheck 1 year, 2 months ago

Another split of the proverbial lunchtime pie in downtown. Sure cuts down on the overhead to work out of a truck and also cuts potential for crime since anything worth stealing drives away each night. Gives variety to those who work downtown but does nothing to help keep downtown afloat. Shortsighted in that regard.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

Seems like a real big article for a little bitty business. Hopefully any boycott that exists will not affect Senor Garcia.

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VSU 1 year, 2 months ago

I imagine these motorized restaurants will run into problems if the truck breaks down, has a flat tire, battery goes dead, gets totalled out if involved in a major traffic accident, so they will have their drawbacks. I wonder what the insurance cost is on one of these units?

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VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

Insurance? Ummm wonder if they check him having insurance?

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albanyherald1 1 year, 2 months ago

I think this is an awesome idea! And a great solution for the dwindling downtown area. Folks will still frequent The Cookie Shoppe and Subway because they have indoor, climate controlled seating, so I would think they have nothing to worry about.

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beenhereawhile 1 year, 2 months ago

I love the idea of food trucks!

But I wonder when the downtown manager says he doesn't "want to create too much competition" that has me scared. Competition is GOOD FOR THE CONSUMER. When the downtown manager has the power to say who is in and who is out, then the system is ripe for corruption. Isn't that what his predecessor was fired for?

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agirl_25 1 year, 2 months ago

Love food trucks. Never knew of them in the states, to be honest, until I saw them on a TV cooking show. Think they are a wonderful idea for variety, especially if they are fast, clean, efficient, and food is good. You are probably right about the system being ripe for corruption tho, sad huh?

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VietVet1 1 year, 2 months ago

Corruption - Albany? Tell me it ain't so!

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darnette0101 1 year, 2 months ago

We have businesses like this all over the place; especially up north. They have no problems. You can run up the truck, get your food and keep on going. The only bad part I can see would be inclement weather. Other than that, if the food is truly authentic...cool.

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bigbob 1 year, 2 months ago

Did Blair arrange this so he could say he brang a bussiness downtown. lol

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 2 months ago

Ever heard the term "Roach Coach"? I didn't think so........

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