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Crystal City Launches ‘Food Truck Thursdays’

by ARLnow.com June 6, 2012 at 9:54 am 9,765 48 Comments

Amid the continued debate in Rosslyn and across the county about how to balance the interests of restaurants and food trucks, Crystal City is moving forward this week with a plan that attempts to find a “win-win” solution.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) announced this morning that it is launching a pilot program called “Food Truck Thursdays.”

The lunchtime event — kicking off tomorrow, June 7 — will draw food trucks to a parking lot near the Crystal City Metro station for what BID president Angela Fox describes as “a fun and energetic dining option that will enhance the food truck and overall lunchtime experience.”

From a press release:

Beginning June 7th, the first Thursday in June and then happening weekly, the event will host local Food Trucks in the surface parking lot at the corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Streets (in the same location as Crystal City’s successful weekly farmers market on Tuesdays). Food Trucks that sign up get free reserved parking and patrons get one convenient location with ample options and old favorites. The following Food Trucks have already signed up to participate with many others expressing interest:

Hot People Food
Red Hook Lobster
Willie’s Po’Boy

In launching the program, the BID “hopes to balance existing business concerns while ensuring that area workers, residents, and visitors continue to enjoy from the diversity of food truck offerings,” according to the press release.

Trucks participating in the program agree to make Thursdays the only day of the week they come to Crystal City. In exchange, the truck operators get a free, reserved parking space and free marketing from the BID.

“We have enjoyed working with property owners and food truck vendors to create what we hope is a win-win Food Truck solution and are excited to launch this pilot,” Fox said.

Update at 4:00 p.m. — The Doug the Food Dude truck has also signed up for Food Truck Thursdays, according to Crystal City BID.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

  • ballsteve

    I hate Spike Mendelsohn.

    • charles

      There’s a “parking lot near the Crystal City Metro station” ?

  • John Fontain

    I think we’ve got a smart one here, this Ms. Angela Fox.

  • KalashniKEV

    This is going to be awesome. I will be there for sure.

    • KalashniKEV

      Scratch that… I just read the last bit… we NEED food trucks every day on the north end of CC.

      • drax

        Food trucks are VIBRANT.

        • KalashniKEV

          True, but it’s “good” VIBRANT.

  • Ben

    While I can understand if you limited them to one day a week there are plenty of other places these food trucks can go to make a profit, has anyone ever stopped and asked the consumers what they want (IE the ones who do pay the restaurant taxes etc)?

  • LolaMINI

    I’d love this but I need it closer to the Pentagon

    • Quoth the Raven


    • novastephanie

      They certainly have enough parking lot space there.

    • FairlingtonD

      Two stops away and a very short walk. A lot better than when trucks set up at 23rd Street – that’s a hike, relatively speaking.

      • barry

        so $5 dollars round trip at lunch plus cost of food/drink. No thanks.

  • barry

    Hot People Food still makes me laugh

  • RS

    Awesome idea. Now if only they’d do it later in the evening so that the Crystal City Rolls street hockey players could get some yummy deliciousness after games…now THAT would be incredible!

  • Maybe now I finally have a reason to visit Crystal City.

  • CrystalMikey

    I wish I still worked in CC….no food trucks out here in Fairfax City. 😛

    • x

      Is that near Fredericksburg?

  • KalashniKEV

    Where does the BID jurisdiction end so I can get food truck fare every-single-day? I am willing to walk a great distance…

    What authority does the BID have to restrict access?

    • drax

      Food trucks are like the homeless. Find a roof or GTFO!

  • ballsteve

    They do this once a month at the Fairgrounds (Nats Park: http://www.truckeroodc.com).

    This is a bad sign for CC and the rest of the city. The whole thing we like about food trucks is that every day there is something different. What this means is that only once a week there be different food, and you’ll probably see the same trucks come each week.

    I get why restaurants hate food trucks. Trucks don’t have nearly the overhead costs, and they can serve different customers every day. But that being said, if your restaurant, with its full kitchen and staff, can’t make better food than one or two people in a food truck, then you don’t deserve the business.

    • Fred

      I agree. I like the variation during the week. I don’t want to have to decide among all the trucks I like which one I’ll eat at once a week. In my opinion it’s a very bad idea.

  • Doug W

    I believe it is purely voluntary — not a formal restriction. This simply provides a highlighted mini-festival setting for food trucks in CC one a week. I don’t think it has any formal enforcement other than trucks who participate choosing Thursday as their CC day. However, right now the opening of Spike’s burger place is impacting restaurants as much or more than trucks.

  • Janna

    I thought this was a great idea until I read that participating trucks have to agree to not come to Crystal City any other day of the week. That means you have to choose only one of these trucks to purchase from each week. I think this will be a detriment to Crystal City and many trucks will just go elsewhere.

    Plus, since I am on the south end of Crystal City, this moves them further away.

  • bobco85

    It seems like this idea is geared toward attracting new customers who do not normally eat from food trucks rather than existing customers. I like the idea of a food truck “fair” to get people to try out new food trucks.

    That said, I think it would be best served if they were to change the scheduling of the event. Either have it weekly over a 4-6 week period, or have it monthly on the first Thursday of each month. For the monthly idea, they could change their rule to only restrict food truck visits in that first week (the rest of the month they could visit at any time). I think my idea would attract more food truck businesses to participate.

  • Kid Clarendon

    Am I the only one that doesn’t understand the appeal/value of food trucks?

    Long lines, skimpy portions (relative to $.), & expensive price (relative to qty.)

    • drax

      Enjoy your Big Mac.

      • James

        Huh? I usually don’t go to food trucks either and almost never eat fast food – there are lots of options besides big macs if you prefer to go somewhere inside for food.

        • drax

          Every day, over and over?

          • Claire

            Yes, contrary to popular belief there was not massive starvation before food carts appeared in western civilization.

          • drax

            There was a generous portion of boredom though.

          • Claire

            I find food trucks boring. Especially when they don’t show up.

    • Ben

      The high disposable income of this area coupled with bland restaurant choices and the frequency of people doing working lunches makes them thrive.

      • x

        Well said.

  • Crystal City

    Sounds like the food trucks that DON’T participate in the program get to come any day of the week they would like. They just don’t get free parking or free advertising. I appreciate the CC BID trying to make it sound like a fun event (something they do very well!) but it’s really just a way to restrict the food trucks. First it will be voluntary, then when Arlington passes some kind of rules, it will be mandatory. I appreciate the BID trying to ease us into it and make it sound fun, (at least they’re not whiny jerks about it like the Rosslyn BID) but it’s still unfortunate for the food trucks.

    • PStreetPaul

      Yeah, it does kind of sound like it could be a test run for some sort the restricted corralling of the trucks.

      • Bum

        time for a food truck roundup!

  • yay-trucks

    If you can read between the lines, this event is clearly to keep trucks out o the area every other day of the week. I agree I like the option of a truck each day, it helps bring variety to my work week. There are never too many truck each day anyway, these articles seem to exaggerate how many trucks actually serve the major areas in Arlington. If the BID really wanted something fun, why not do this WITHOUT limiting how often the trucks come in CC? Wouldn’t the results be the same? Ohhh…no it wouldn’t, cause poor B&M would still have something to cry about!

  • JB

    Wish someone would open up a real food truck with egg rolls, dry aged for 28 days, and hot dogs, simmered to perfection in a hot dog water reduction, served on pillowy steamed white bread buns, with a choice of mustard, ketchup, and relish carefully prepared by master condiment artisan, H. J. Heinz.

    • Hank

      Why don’t restaurants chill then thaw their beverage options in coolers 7-15 times before purchase. It’s so much more fun, because otherwise Henry’s Gas Law is soooooooo predictable.

  • MIke

    What are the hours?

  • Sarah

    Another bad idea by the BID, just like the bike race and outdoor movies. The BID sees its goal as bringing customers to participating businesses (like residents), not to making this area easier and more pleasant for neighbors and residents. Restricting food truck access, closing roads and playing old movies late at night may benefit businesses but doesn’t do much for residents and neighbors.

  • DishingOut

    I work in CC and enjoy the variety of food offered by restaurants and by food trucks. These trucks are no longer the “oops-food-dropped-but-put-back-on-the-menu” reputation of old. Tuesdays, I go to Seoul Food DC, who uses cage free eggs, grass-fed beef, local produce and goes to Whole Foods…or I go to District Taco, whom I heard of from the Food Network magazine. Thursdays, I go to Lemongrass Truck, who are owned and launched by a couple that used to be government contractors and wanted to venture out into the food business. By the way, District Taco now has two brick and mortar restaurants – one in DC and one off Lee Highway. I can puchase food and select something on the menu for $7. Yes, I can stand in line just like I do if I go to Chipotle or Corner Bakery or wait for seating at Ted’s Montana Grill.

    To those at the South end of CC, it is a farther walk because I’ve been walking from our building on 27th Street to 23rd. Now, I’ll have to get on the building shuttle to the Metro and walk to Crystal Drive and 18th but that’s okay since the shuttle is free.

    • yay-trucks

      You don’t need to take a shuttle because from what I’ve seen, all the trucks you’ve stated have not signed on to do the “food truck thurs” with the BID, you should still see them on their reg days.

      • DishingOut

        If I go to 23rd Street, no..but if I want to go to 18th and check out who’s there, then yes, I”ll take the shuttle. I have no complaints whether walking or otherwise to go check out the food trucks.


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