Food truck nights just keep on truckin’
Weekly events popular around our region for grub, local music
The community has rallied around food trucks, and venues have taken notice.
Almost any night of the week, you can find a crowd of people standing around a gaggle of food trucks, ordering, then taking their grub over to a stage for local music.
Among the venues that host weekly rallies are Junk Ditch Brewing Company on Tuesdays, Union 12 on Wednesdays, and teds beerhall on Thursdays.
“It’s gotten a lot bigger,” said Katie Jo, community care ambassador at Junk Ditch and GK Baked Goods.
The reason the events have gotten so much larger are evident in the quality of food trucks and music in the area. Fans of Bravas, Mercadito, Who Cut the Cheese, and Ziffles, just to name a few, are always chasing their favorites around town, then throw in music from the likes of Debutants, Jess Thrower, Hubie Ashcraft, and Samuel Harness, and you’ve got a winning combination.
“It’s always something that will do well with big crowds,” teds general manager Eric Ehlers said of picking a musical lineup. “We try to have someone who is going to play to the people, as opposed to the slower singer-songwriters that we have inside.”
Junk Ditch has the luxury of having one of the city’s most popular bands, Debutants, as their “house band,” so they can be called on in a pinch. But for any acts trying to get on the Junk Ditch schedule, they better act fast.
“I plan this in February, so all of this is organized well before it starts,” Katie Jo said. “I do try to keep a list for people that ask, so if people are interested, they should absolutely send me a DM or email, then I can put them on a the list, so when I go to build next year’s schedule we can include more people: and then the Debutants don’t have to play every week.”
And Junk Ditch isn’t alone in planning ahead. Ehlers at teds says he does his schedule about a year in advance, and Union 12’s food truck nights have also been gaining steam.
“The first year was kind of, ‘Who are you, and what are you doing?’ Now, it’s kind of like, ‘We want to be involved.’” Union 12 co-owner John Sommer said.
Location, location, location
At Union 12, the rallies allow more people to check out the venue that is primarily used for weddings.
“We want to be involved in the community,” co-owner Silas Norris said. “Having events that are open to the public allows everyone to come out and enjoy our property, rather than someone who paid to be here.”
The rallies have also opened some eyes to where Union 12 actually is, as the Columbia City address can be deceiving. It sits just west of the county line.
“We don’t hear it as much as we used to, but we used to get a lot of, ‘Oh, we thought you were like an hour from Fort Wayne, but it only took us 15 minutes to get here.’” Sommer said.
Location also plays a role at teds, which sits in far-north Fort Wayne, at the corner of Union Chapel and Coldwater roads.
“We’re one of the only things out here, and most of the food trucks go downtown,” Ehlers said. “This side of town doesn’t really travel downtown, but the people downtown will travel up here. So we get the best of both worlds.”
Doing their part
Along with supplying food and music, Junk Ditch has been adding new elements to the Tuesday Food Truck Rally Nights.
“This year, we’re doing rally runs with Indiana Direct Primary Care and Three Rivers Running Company,” Katie Jo said. “We’re just trying to make it a true community event, and not just the same thing every week.”
One thing they are doing every week is being environmentally conscious.
“One of the cool things about this year, is we’ve partnered with Ground Down, so we’re composting at all the food truck rallies,” Katie Jo said while overseeing people in Junk Ditch’s Community-Supported Agriculture program pick up their groceries. “In the month of May, we were able to compost 364 pounds and save that from the landfill. That’s a really cool part, because that’s something that’s really important to us at Junk Ditch and GK Baked Goods. Restaurants can be really wasteful in general, so it’s really important to us to be mindful of that waste.”