Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Civic Center Park on a roll with daily mobile food trucks: Panic in noodle park!

Move over, medical marijuana. The big new business boom is mobile food trucks, as evidenced by the success of Civic Center Eats in Civic Center Park every Tuesday this summer, giving Denver a taste of this increasingly vibrant area. And today, Civic Center Park will start seeing a roster of vendors rolling in daily.

The daily lineup -- which will continue through the year, weather willing -- is the soft launch of a project created by the Civic Center Conservancy. "Needless to say," says CCPC director Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, "we've seen how successful Civic Center Eats is in activating Civic Center Park on summer Tuesdays. Our hope is to extend that activation daily and year-round, providing an amenity that will draw people into Civic Center Park -- helping us reclaim this historic public space as the vibrant community asset its founders intended and our community deserves."

This second stage was made possible when the Civic Center Conservancy renegotiated its permit for the park with the city earlier this year, and got the okay for a more limited group daily, rather than one big event weekly. (Unless the park is already committed to another event, as it is this coming Friday.) Here's how the deal's described in the CCC's applications for vendors:

The Civic Center Conservancy is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization focused on helping the City and County of Denver restore, enhance and activate Downtown Denver's historic Civic Center Park. As a means to activate Civic Center and generate revenues to support the Park, the City has contractually granted the Conservancy with the ability to bring up to four vendors a day into Civic Center Park on days that the Park is not otherwise permitted for other events. While all eligible vendors may apply, applications will be evaluated by the Conservancy based upon the following criteria: (a) visual appeal and self-contained nature of the mobile food facility (ie: preference for food trucks and carts), (b) proven quality and demand as demonstrated by sales volume at Civic Center EATS or elsewhere, (c) vendor fan base loyalty and proven willingness and ability to market and promote, and (d) product diversity so participating vendor menus don't overlap and diverse options can be provided on any given day... Applications will subsequently be available for 2011.

Forget to grab breakfast before you left the house? From 7 to 10 a.m. this morning, you'll find Crock Spot and Sugar Lips Mini-Donuts (the Biscuit Bus will roll in later this month). Crock Spot will stick around for lunch from 11-3 p.m., joined by Sully's Slice Truck, the Steamin' Demon and Max Lunch.

So far, so good. Just one hitch: This movable feast needs a new name, since Civic Center Eats is reserved for the Tuesday event. The location alone (which comes with a very colorful past) should provide plenty of food for thought.

How about Panic in Noodle Park? Post your ideas below.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun