The ever-evolving city of Grand Rapids offers a wide variety of restaurants, with something guaranteed to fit just about anyone’s taste buds. In the past few years, visitors and residents have noticed something new on the streets – food trucks. One particular truck is called What The Truck, which is run by the staff at The Winchester.
Although the food truck industry is a rather new addition to Grand Rapids, it has been trending in other cities such as Portland Oregon, Washington DC and New York City. What the Truck’s General Manager, Matt Buskard said that “The food truck industry is one that is constantly changing and growing in popularity. It allows creativity to really be expanded and tested due to the flexibility offered with running a food truck. It allows us for a moment to be whatever that crowd needs and wants us to be.”
A smorgasbord of taco options are pretty popular items on the menu, but according to Buskard, “hands down, the Truck Pow Chicken [is] one of the best options.” This item includes: rice, snow peas, peppers, broccoli, onion, and sprouts with homemade spicy sesame glaze and peanuts on top. “My mouth is watering right now thinking about it! It’s amazing!” he commented.
There are, however, some rules and regulations for food truck businesses in downtown Grand Rapids. Buskard says the ordinances are “very restrictive and not very cost effective for a mobile food truck. Part of the idea of a food truck is its ability to have lower costs to run, but also lower revenue so it works.” When asked if more food trucks might emerge onto the streets of Grand Rapids, Buskard said that, because of these regulations, probably not. However, food trucks may fare better in other parts of the state, as Kalamazoo and Traverse City have ordinances that favor food truck operations. The food truck restrictions are designed to protect traditional restaurants, but Buskard said that “if you’re running a solid restaurant operation you don’t fear a little fun competition, you accept it and allow it to make your city more dynamic and cool.”
Because food trucks are a kitchens on wheels, What The Truck can provide their services almost anywhere. Buskard said that “We do many events and festivals, we did the Electric Forest, we will be doing Vander Fest in October, and we have done weddings, charity events, church events, corporate functions, really any kind of event that wants amazing food and a fun truck showing up!”
According to Buskard, the best parts of working with What The Truck are working different events and the constant change. “One week we were at Rock the Rapids for all the concerts, the next weekend we were at a wedding, and a charity event in Saugatuck- we are everywhere, meeting cool people, and seeing amazing shows and events! It’s quite the job!”