Seasoned Swine's move from food truck to brick-and-mortar restaurant is a journey that many formerly mobile food operators have taken. And while doing it in the midst of a pandemic that has limited the ability of restaurants to operate on all cylinders might seem like a dubious time to make the transition, food trucks have faced their own setbacks this year.
Jacob Viers built his Seasoned Swine business on both street sales and booked events, and those largely dried up in 2020 across the food-service industry. While serving food outdoors from the window of a food truck may seem like a better, safer option than seating dozens of people indoors in a restaurant dining room, opportunities to do so — at festivals, truck rallies, private bookings — were few and far between last year. Besides, food truck business has traditionally been a warm-weather gig, even in the best of years.
Moving operations indoors can add a layer of stability, even at 25 or 50 percent capacity; besides, the kind of food served from mobile vendors is often designed to travel well, so takeout business can be a strong part of sales until capacity restrictions ease.
Seasoned Swine is not the only food truck to find a permanent home since the pandemic began. Crock Spot, one of Denver's longest-running street vendors, settled into its new digs at 4045 Pecos Street in the Sunnyside neighborhood in early November, and is even now building a second location near East 28th Avenue and Fairfax Street in Park Hill. Nearby in the Berkeley neighborhood, Natascha Hess converted her successful Ginger Pig truck into a freestanding restaurant that opened at 4262 Lowell Boulevard the same week as Crock Spot.
The Adobo food truck recently took over the kitchen at First Draft Taproom, at 1309 26th Street in RiNo, and Jared Leonard's Budlong Hot Chicken has expanded from counter-service restaurants in Chicago to a Denver food truck, a food-hall counter (at Zeppelin Station) and finally a Denver brick-and-mortar at 81 South Pennsylvania Street. And last year also saw the expansion of Venezuelan street-food specialist Quiero Arepas, which opened its third permanent location inside Avanti's new food hall at 1401 Pearl Street in Boulder. Other converts include King of Wings, at 7741 West 44th Avenue in Wheat Ridge, and Danger Zone Calzones, at 32 Broadway.
Sometimes you have to hit the brakes and park if you want to keep on truckin'.
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