Cafe Society

Food truck operators and diners say truck on at the last Civic Center Eats of 2011

More than 2,000 people showed up for the final Civic Center Eats of the season. "It was a great summer and went out with a bang," says Kevin Morrison of Pinche Tacos. "It was a record day for us."

With the shutterings of Deluxe's Little Orange Rocket and Crazy Good, as well as the debut of an Applebee's truck, there have been rumblings that the food truck fad has hit a dead end. But that wasn't the consensus at Civic Center Eats.

"It's been a great summer for us," says Jake Riederer, general manager of Slice Truck, Biscuit Bus and brick-and-mortar Atomic Cowboy. When asked whether they're making money off the trucks, he gives a very slow, hesitant, "Yes."

"I don't see it being the end of the trend. I do see there being some consolidation of the market," Riederer says. "With the explosion of the trucks, a lot of people went out and started a truck and weren't prepared for the economic realities of it." With fuel, mechanical fixes, a commissary kitchen to prep in and other costs, running a truck costs about the same as an average restaurant, he says.

OG Burgers, which got into the game in late May, made at least some money this summer. According to chef and owner Zack Hines, it helped that "we built our truck for a lot less than some of the other guys."

The Crazy Good truck was going for $139,000; Dyland Moore of Little Orange Rocket hinted at a sale price of $50,000.

Hines thinks trucks definitely have their place in Denver -- "good, gourmet, relatively cheap food" -- but, at the end of the day, he says, the market will only support so many trucks. He doubts that many new trucks will appear next year.

Food trucks definitely have their fans. "No way this is the end of food trucks," says Cristal DeHerrera, an attorney in LoDo. "If I had gloves, a hat and a scarf," she vows, she'd even trek back to Civic Center if it was snowing. Sadly, the congregation of food trucks won't be back until 2012.

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Jenny An
Contact: Jenny An