One of SOMA’s most hotly anticipated developments of 2012 is holding their soft opening later this morning for lunch. So hotly anticipated that there were no less than 6 people standing outside the chain link fence when I left yesterday, itching to hear when it would finally open.
The SOMA StrEAT Food Park (428 Eleventh St.) has completed their year-long process and as of today, they are ready to serve you a revolving variety of street vendors, seven days a week.
Yesterday morning, I had a chance to spend some time with the owner, Carlos Muela, and he showed me around the park.
Taking inspiration from progressive cities such as Portland and Austin, Muela has created San Francisco’s first permanent food truck lot, with room for up to 10 different vendors at a time (and 500 people).
Standing in the empty lot as they were making their final preparations, it was easy to see the mass appeal that this location will draw.
While Western SOMA may feel underdeveloped, the park sits along a major bike thoroughfare between Potrero/Dogpatch and the Mission/Castro. In addition, there are a number of large businesses within walking distance- from company headquarters for Adobe and Zynga to big box chains like Costco and Best Buy- all of whom are looking for new places to grab a quick lunch.
That’s where the StrEAT Food Park comes into play.
Muela envisions the park as a “nice platform for our neighbors and families to get out and try new foods.”
It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved. The neighborhood will have a revolving door of variety, and the food truck industry will have a permanent place to open up shop.
“San Francisco regulations have made [food truck] business near impossible for trucks,” says Muela.
While a Food Truck may seem easier to launch than a brick and mortar restaurant, the City has required them to acquire a permit to park anywhere, making it much more difficult, particularly where anyone would actually utilize the truck. With Food Truck Parks, vendors are given an opportunity to set up shop alongside some likeminded businesses, servicing folks who are seeking out the trucks.
When asked about concern over competition, Muela responds, “competition is great. It makes the vendors bring their best, while also bringing more people into the neighborhood.”
Over the next few months, the StrEAT Food Park will be hosting a variety of neighbor-friendly events: movie nights, skee-ball tournaments, Berlin-style Ping Pong and even Giants games projected on a large screen. They also offer ample bike parking, FREE wifi, a covered (and heated) pavilion that can hold 100 and, some day (hopefully soon) a Beer Garden… but they’re still dealing with the permit process on that one.
Official Grand Opening, Wednesday, June 6th:
As for the actual vendors, some will be more permanent than others. Muela wouldn’t really go into details for the soft open, but this morning I received an email from their PR person announcing their Official Opening Day Line Up:
Starting Wednesday, June 6th, the Park will be serving lunch & dinner from 11am – 9pm daily. Trucks will rotate daily but the initial list has just been finalized for the big day:
Mayo and Mustard
TopShelf Boutique (fashion truck)
A VIP First Look Tasting Party on June 5th!
Sure, you can go to the Official Grand Opening on June 6th, but ScoutMob is offering a “First Look Party: A Vip Tasting of SOMA StrEAT Food Park” a day early for only $25. That price will include “chosen menu items from six of San Francisco’s favorite food trucks,” in addition to live music. Check here for more information.
Here are some pics of the SOMA StrEAT Food Park:
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