A Slice of Tampa Life: Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta

June 3, 2016

Don’t even dare pack a lunch in Downtown Tampa.DSC_0099

Since 2011, during the first Wednesday of every month, Mayor Bob Buckhorn invites food trucks from around the Tampa Bay area to spice up Lykes Gaslight Square Park in the shadow of downtown’s sky-scrapping business centers. Within hours, the park is surrounded by culinary options ranging from the spicy Asian I WANNA WOK, award-winning Cuban Sandwiches on-the-go, and new-comer game-changers like Empamama’s.

“We always get huge lines and lists of vendors that want to participate,” said special assistant to the mayorm Christina Barker. The mayor’s office along with the Tampa Downtown Partnership, host the Food Truck Fiesta, Fourth Friday, and other celebrations to awaken the downtown streets. The goal of Mayor Buckhorn since he took office has been to make Downtown not only a place to work, but also to live and play.

It has been an overwhelming success.

“Five years ago, there wasn’t anything to do downtown; now there is always something going on,” commented Tracy, a Tampa local who biked to downtown for lunch with her boyfriend, Stefan.

The event is a win-win. Culinary entrepreneurs get another opportunity to add momentum and a following to their food trucks. Professionals get a chance to escape the mundane ham sandwich with a bowl of spicy noodles and host a hump-day meeting out in the afternoon shade.

A quick pick-me-up of Commune + Co. coffee served by Nathan Daniels keeps the food coma away, and it is back to work for downtown employees.

“I think it has been great,” said Daniels, as he fills a cup with their signature nitro cold brew. “It really helps foster this urban community.”