Why Won’t Food Trucks Show More Love to Silver Spring?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

I live in DC but I work in Silver Spring. One thing that always blows my mind is that food trucks don’t come to Silver Spring ever (notwithstanding the two permanent trucks in the gas station at Georgia and Colesville – both of which are very good!), although they go to other places in MoCo and way out in Virginia. I worked downtown for years, and I really miss having food trucks as a lunch option. Basically, they provide a great meeting place and offer a lot of creative, different, tasty, and local options that we don’t really have just over the line.
Any ideas as to why we don’t get food trucks? And, what can I/my fellow Silver Spring eaters do to woo the trucks in our direction? There are a lot of businesses and areas to park up there – it’d be worth it!”

25 Comment

  • maybe it’s a health dept certification thing?

    • If they are certified for MoCO they are certified for Silver Spring. Many are certified for MoCO. So this remains a mystery. The food trucks are missing out on some mad cash.

  • They don’t want to have their trucks get hit by a moron going 20 above the limit on GA ave or going through red lights on Collesville.

  • palisades

    They don’t come to Fairfax. I work next to Merrifield and they’re nowhere to be found. You’ll manage

    • I think we’d all manage without a lot of things, but the OP is just asking if there was a reason they do not see trucks in the area. I work in SS and do fine, but it was nice when some use to come to my building. With the knowledge about parking / location, this could actually spur someone to take an interest in organizing some sort of designated space. You could probably mange without being snarky but you chose not to.

      • palisades

        Your long-winded response was completely necessary

        • Palisades, I don’t know if you got out on the wrong side of bed today or what — I don’t remember you usually being this snarky — but your response to the OP was unnecessarily snarky and so was your reply to Dogg. “They don’t come to my area and I’ve survived” is an unhelpful response.

    • SouthwestDC

      At least merrifeld has restaurants nearby, right? The place I used to work at in DC had no fast food/fast casual restaurants within reasonable walking distance (just an overpriced deli in one of the buildings) and I always thought a food truck would have made a killing.

  • My husband owns a food truck in Montgomery County. The main problem is parking. There are laws that dictate how far the food truck can be from the restaurants, so usually the city or county sets up certain spots for food trucks. Otherwise the trucks have to pay out of pocket for a metered spot, if they can find one. For most trucks, that is a huge hassle. For DC or VA based trucks it’s worse, because if they don’t have a permit for MoCo, they need a day pass, for which there is a fee. I’m sure the MoCo food trucks would love the support of Silver Spring residents and commuters in gaining more access!

  • Blithe

    If this does not already exist, maybe work with the powers that be in Silver Spring to identify a designated spot for food trucks. It’s hard for me to imagine a centrally located curb area anywhere close to Georgia/Colesville where trucks could park safely during lunch time. Maybe when the transit center is finally sorted out?,,,,, Also, Silver Spring already has multiple lunch options. It could be that the food trucks, many of which have fairly regular routes, do better in places with less competition.

  • Anonomnom

    I’m also interested in ides for how to catch food trucks attention. I work in Georgetown near the harbor, and we get the Pho truck about once a month and it is always swamped! Would love to get a few others to take notice.

    • I used to work at the harbor there, and I agree that would be a great spot for food trucks. Lots of offices and very few non-sit down lunch options. It’s probably a space issue there as well – they’d have to find an open parking spot along K Street, which is difficult.

    • It’s a parking issue in gtown. someone has to save the spot early in the morning.

  • Lack of parking, lack of foot traffic? When I’ve been to SS (which is admittedly not very often), it’s relatively dead compared to how many tall buildings there are. It’s not a very pleasant place to walk around.

    • Agreed. During weekday lunch, a lot of the chain restaurants are usually stuffed to the gills with people, but the more interesting, local joints are generally empty. Obviously it’s not like that every day, but enough to where I imagine most food truck owners don’t see the benefit of hauling their goods all the way up there.

    • The renovated area largely went to chains and local places take a little more exploration to find. The downtown area seems very poorly redone, in general–the Hilton & hampton should have been near Metro and the housing and offices should be less separated. They probably put too much energy into getting big box retail (which has always floundered) and haven’t done enough to stimulate street life. Even at night, the chains seem to do better than the much better local places.

  • It must be due to regulatory reasons. They’re all over the denser parts of Northern Virginia at lunchtime.

  • I have worked in SS for 5 years now. There used to be a few food trucks- 2 cupcake trucks, a bbq truck, a cheesecake truck, lobster roll truck, waffle and chicken truck and a few others. The cheesecake guy said that the business was so slow in SS that it wasnt worth their time anymore. The cupcake lady and bbq guy were harassed over the parking situation. If there wasnt a customer in line, then they couldnt park there. There was a Ben and Jerrys truck here last week!!

  • Maybe the Silver Spring Urban District (equivalent to a BID) could help champion the cause and work with the regulators to make it more feasible for the food truck owners?

    Similarly for the Georgetown question, maybe the Georgetown BID?

  • The larger issue is the County reg’s that require(d) that they maintain a kitchen (food prep) presence in the County and the lack of concentrated customers. There aren’t enough people to warrant the demand. The secondary issue is parking…if you ever venture near the gas station at the corner of Colesville and GA across from the Discovery building…there are always at least 3 food trucks parked there. They rent space from the gas station owner. With that said, I know that many trucks tried Silver Spring and then migrated to Bethesda and from their to Gaithersburg and Germantown (go figure).

  • There were a couple that parked on Colesville – a cupcake place and BBQ. But I haven’t seen them in well over a year.

  • I used to run a very popular DC food truck for three years (you’ve heard of it – it may have already been mentioned in the comments…), and for a while we tried to make it happen in SS, but there was not enough natural foot traffic in an area that we could park.

    However, my recommendation is to your question is:

    – reach out to the food trucks directly and offer to help market their visit internally in your building. Be the point man on spreading the word, so that if a truck commits to coming out, they at least know that the word is being spread around the offices. Maybe even offer to print/distribute a flyer they have.

    – talk to your property management company that runs your building. See if they would allow a truck to park directly on their property. That way trucks have a dedicated space ahead of time in front of a guaranteed source of potential customers.

  • SouthwestDC

    I’ve wondered the same thing about both places I’ve worked in the area. I know food truck owners hate these regulations, but it would be nice if they were forced to spread out a bit. I’ve been in DC a decade and have only eaten at a food truck once!

  • Seriously?! I work right at the old DC General/Jail site and no real legit food trucks come in the area. We have 2 guys (gross fried food and one all purpose truck) whose food is questionable.

    With the many many prison guards and other workers here they would sell out in a minute!

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