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Archive for April, 2011

Lunch Truck It Brings Food Trucks to Long Beach

April 29, 2011 3 comments

Beginning May 4, a new weekly gourmet food truck event will kick off in a location where food trucks are rarely seen: within the city limits of Long Beach. Lunch Truck It, which will take place on Coronado at Aneheim on Wednesdays, is a joint effort of Councilman O’Donnell and  the 4th District, and The ZaSo Design District.

Recently, I spoke with Jennifer Jones, administrator of the Lunch Truck It Facebook and Twitter accounts, and a key organizer for the event, to discuss the origin and potential for bringing gourmet food trucks to Long Beach. The following comes from our short e-mail interview.
For those who don’t know, “The ZaSo Design Destrict is made up of a number of creative firms on Coronado Ave. at Anaheim in Long Beach. It has become a collaboration of businesses that want to be more involved in the local Long Beach community and unify the efforts for our district’s creative growth and redevelopment.” Situated on Coronado Street, North of Aneheim Ave, the area will host 3 or 4 trucks every Wednesday for Lunch from 11:30 to 2:30.

Current Long Beach municipal code only allows Food Trucks to operate in construction zones and imposes different regulations and fees than most municipalities in Los Angeles County. This explains why Long Beach residents see trucks operating just outside, but rarely in, The City of Long Beach.

Lunch Truck It will bring a rotating lineup of food trucks to Long Beach (currently 12 trucks are planning on serving in the coming weeks) including Buttermilk, Vizzi Truck, Cool Haus, Global Soul, Ahn Joo, Mandoline Grill, Greasy Wiener, Crepe’n Around, and Grill ‘Em All.

The 4th District and Councilman Patrick O’Donnell was instrumental in getting the ball rolling for the idea of Lunch Truck It to come to fruition. Jones says the Councilman was excited about the idea and the initiative coming out of the area. Vizzi Truck was also a huge help as “the first truck to take a chance on [them] a year ago, they have been immensely helpful with the brainstorm and launch… giving [them] advice and tips from the trucks perspective.” Jones hopes the new event will bring more people into the ZaSo Design District to stick around for more than just lunch. As for her hopes for the impact on local law, Jones said “It is our hope that the City’s regulations will become more flexible and accommodating for gourmet food trucks. We are optimistic that Lunch Truck It will become a hot spot in Long Beach for gourmet food trucks and their patrons from all over L.A. and Orange County.”
I am equally optimistic that bringing gourmet food trucks into the area can spur interest in the area and cooperation with the local organizers, in addition to the fun and spontaneous community that food truck events already bring. Since I come from a city where food trucks are latecomers to the scene and face insane scrutiny and regulations, it’s comforting to see events like this work toward acceptance. I’m enthusiastic that Lunch Truck It will be successful in it’s first weeks and I hope the city comes out to support it. I encourage Long Beach residents to give props to Councilman O’Donnell and Jennifer Jones for having initiative  and vision. Unfortunately, I will be working in San Pedro during the first Lunch Truck It event, but I look forward to stopping by and enjoying some of the best GFTs in LA County sometime soon. Maybe I can convince someone to stop by and take pictures? The kick-off event will feature Great Balls on Tires, KutnSow,  Rosa’s Bella Cucina, The Sweets Truck, and Vizzi Truck. Trucks interested in participating in future Lunch Truck It events can contact info@lunchtruckit.com.

Lunch Truck It
Launching Wednesday May 4th, 11:30-2:30
Coronado Ave at Aneheim
Twitter: @LunchTruckIt
Facebook: facebook.com/lunchtruckit 
Also, feel free to spread this flyer.

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East Village Expands

April 11, 2011 1 comment

Back in December, I blogged about Phantom Galleries Long Beach and a couple of businesses coming to the East Village. Since then, The East Village Arts District has filled a few more storefronts and continues to live up to the “Arts District” reputation.  With the 4th Street opening of Portfolio Coffeehouse’s  newest endeavor, Berlin by Portfolio and it’s next-door neighbor, the newly relocated Fingerprints Music, the area is becoming a more fun and interesting place to hang out and shop. Just around the corner on 3rd Street at Elm Ave., Durty Mick Records has found a new home for its label and store, as well as The Hallway Spectacle, a new vintage/unique find shop, and Downtown Darling Salon & Boutique. New art galleries have opened on Linden Ave. and The Promenade, and the new Vons on Atlantic and Broadway finally opened.

The New Berlin Portfolio and Fingerprints Music

The area is already looking more attractive and fun, and is playing host to a newly-launched Downtown Long Beach Art Walk. The famous Fingerprints will be bringing a slew of in-store performances to the East Village, including an upcoming Foo Fighters show. Durty Mick has also welcomed a few bands since it moved in. New so-called “pedestrian-friendly” street lights were installed a couple of months ago on 4th Street, giving the area a cleaner, more updated look.

Durty Mick Records and Hallway Spectacle

Unfortunately, East Village has also seen the loss of it’s weekly farmers’ market on 1st Street. On the couple of occasions I walked through, there were few vendors selling actual food, and even fewer customers.

I love seeing street art in Long Beach.

In the future, we only have more to look forward to. Groundbreaking on the Art Exchange is planned for this year. When I first moved to Long Beach, I was a little disappointed to see so many closed shops and boarded windows, but it looks like things are turning around. East Village in particular is slowly becoming a unique place to hang out.

Categories: Art, Downtown, East Village