Tulsa food truck fans will finally have a place to find their favorite mobile vendors.
Organizers of the Park in the Pearl have worked hard to get the city’s first permanent food truck court ready to serve the public five days a week and plan to celebrate with a grand opening this weekend.
“Even with social media, people still have a hard time finding us. This gives us a centrally located place where they can find us,” said Josh Lynch, one of the park’s organizer.
After months of paperwork and physical labor preparing a grassy area for vendors and their hungry customers, the Park in the Pearl will host its inaugural event Saturday and Sunday.
“We’ve been putting a lot of time into this, and in the long run this will be better, not just for us but for Tulsa,” said Joel Bein, co-owner of Rub food truck and one of the park’s organizers.
The park, on private land at 418 S. Peoria Ave., features seating, a stage and shaded areas for diners, and has water and electricity for the trucks to reduce the noise of generators. The goal is to make it a family-friendly place where the kids can roam and parents can enjoy good food and live music, Bein said.
The park received final zoning approval in May.
Organizers are hosting the park’s opening weekend with six food trucks on Saturday and five on Sunday. Food trucks will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Bein hopes 3,000 to 4,000 diners come through the gates this weekend.
“It’s a great spot for it,” Bein said. “Downtown is right there, and people who work downtown can be here for lunch in like 2 minutes.”
The park has enough space and hookups for eight trucks, said Chris Wygle, who is the second half of Rub. The roundup of food trucks will vary each day depending on availability and will be booked by the month. To avoid leaving any spaces vacant, he said there will be two backup slots for vendors to replace trucks that have emergencies or catering events.
“There are tons of food trucks out there, and there is nowhere for the trucks to go,” Wygle said.
While there are events throughout the year and locations that offer food truck vendors a place to operate, the permanent park will also offer diners a place to go for more than just food.
Future plans for the park include completion of a bar, venue for a farmers market, yoga in the park and movie nights. There is also plenty of parking near Fifth Street.
Interested food truck owners can sign up online, agree to pay 15 percent of their sales to park overhead and taxes, and commit to giving back to the community, said Lynch, who also owns The Doghouse and Crunch food trucks.
“We all believe in Food On The Move, so we’re challenging people to get involved,” he said about the park’s rules and regulations. “There’s a culture to being a part of the food truck scene, and we want to help with Food On The Move.”
To encourage food truck owners to give back to the communities they operate in, Lynch is requiring vendors to commit twice a year to supporting the mobile food initiative and Iron Gate’s mission of feeding Tulsa’s hungry and the homeless.
The Doghouse has worked with Food On The Move for about a year and has worked with Iron Gate since its inception.
“You always have to give back,” Lynch said. “I’ve been homeless, and I’ve been in the position where I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from. I saw that I could give back. It’s something you should do anyway — it was ingrained in me.”
A stage will be ready for live entertainment at the grand opening. Also, plenty of seating made from up-cycled pallets and tables made from industrial cable spools will be available. Pets on leashes are welcome.
The Park in the Pearl will be open Tuesday through Sunday starting Sept. 15. Organizers also have plans to add shopping options at the park with booths by local retail vendors.