Food trucks emptied at 1st Newsies event
Clintonville resident Carolyn Patterson talks Sept. 6 with Shawn Head, partner in the Green Meanie food truck in the parking lot of the Charity Newsies, 4300 Indianola Ave. Food trucks operating from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Charity Newsies lot every Thursday in September -- and possibly into October -- are making a donation to the local charity for children. Buy This Photo
In the end they were just trucks.
Last week's experiment in having food trucks set up in the parking lot of Charity Newsies, 4300 Indianola Ave., was such a success that both vendors ran out of food with nearly an hour to go, according to Jim Ellison.
The Clintonville resident is coordinator of the Food Fort Program at the Economic and Community Development Institute.
"Thank you, Clintonville community," Ellison said. "You exceeded our expectations for the event. Our last vendors sold out of food at 7:05 p.m. so with 55 minutes left for the evening we were turning people away."
About 200 people were served during what was supposed to be a two-and-a-half hour test-run Sept. 6.
Roughly 50 had to be turned away, according to Ellison, who said he apologized to the disappointed customers, one of whom said, "Darn. I guess I'll come earlier next time and I'm glad you guys ran out of food."
"Really, you can't get more support than that," Ellison said.
A similar turnout this evening, Sept. 13, would mean "we'll go ahead and commit to pushing into October, as well," said Ellison.
This evening's event is set again to run from 5:30 until 8 p.m. -- or until there's no more food left from three vendors.
Ellison also heads up a program that provides storage space and, more recently, an industrial kitchen for entrepreneurs starting up mobile-restaurant operations.
The two food trucks at the opening event Sept. 6, Blu Olive and Green Meanie, are to return this evening along with a third one, to be announced.
Ellison said updates will be available on the Facebook page of Charity Newsies as well as the one on the same website set up for Food Fort Columbus.
"They will be bulging at the seams with extra food," Ellison said of the vendors.
Charity Newsies receives donations from the vendors for use of the parking lot in an area of Clintonville without a lot of dining options, which is why Ellison chose to launch the experiment there after Clintonville Area Commission members conducted a forum for food truck operators at that venue July 26.
Some of the food truck customers on hand last week went inside the 100-year-old organization's facility that provides new clothing, shoes and coats for children in need.
The people who turned out Sept. 6 were "very reflective of the diversity of Clintonville," according to Ellison.
"For a lot of people, it was their first food-truck experience," he added. "The feedback and support was really just great."