Although food truck parks aren’t new to some cities in the Lone Star State like Austin, the Rio Grande Valley has literally been jumping on the bandwagon of these mobile facilities that offer food and music for nearly every taste and type.
RGV cities with food trucks parks include Brownsville, McAllen and now South Padre Island.
In Los Fresnos, city and economic development officials have been toying with the idea of having their food truck park along Texas Highway 100.
Brownsville, for example, does not have one but two food truck parks where locals and visitors can enjoy Mexican, BBQ, seafood, burgers, hot dogs and even food from other ethnicities.
One of them, the Broken Sprocket, has live music four nights a week.
Tony Estrada, the park owner, opened the venue about two and half years ago, with the aim to give people a different type of venue by offering food and music in an outdoor atmosphere.
“I used to work in Georgia,” he said, “but after driving south of Austin, I noticed there was a park where food was sold off trucks.”
Once back home in Brownsville, he asked himself, “Why not have something like that here.”
The rest is history.
His business now has about a half dozen trucks selling BBQ, tacos, seafood and vegan food. Coming soon is a truck offering Mediterranean-styled meals.
Estrada said he started The Broken Sprocket first as a bar and, secondly, as a food truck park, but he now wants to reverse that.
“I am going to make it a food truck park with a bar,” he said, “where families can bring their children and feel comfortable.”
The park has had its share of families but Estrada said he wants to take it up a notch.
At El Patio Food Court on the Frontage Road between Price Road and Boca Chica Boulevard, people either stop by to chill out or order food from three food trucks. They are Yummy Burger, Taqueria Don Raul and Dez BBQ. The park opened earlier this year and business has been increasing thus far.
“In fact,” said Alberto Vasquez, an employee of the burger stand, “a new food truck is coming soon.”
On a recent afternoon, Houston resident Ariel Costa stopped and placed an order for taquitos.
“These are the best tacos I have ever had,” he said. “So good, that I am placing a second order of the same.”
Freddy Alvarez of Brownsville said his family lives closer to the other food truck park, but decided to stop at the newest one to give it a try.
“I like it,” he said. “It gives you the Austin vibe. I am glad to be here and support the local business community.”
Sixty miles up the road in McAllen, a food truck park opens from 8-10 p.m. across from the local chamber of commerce. About a dozen trucks sell a variety of foods and, on the third Friday of the month, live bands can be heard as part of an event called Unplugged. The family- and pet-friendly park opened in 2015.