New Orleans food trucks usually operate individually outside of bars and sometimes in small clusters at markets and festivals. Lately, however, a series of food truck events has been gathering larger groups of food trucks, showcasing their rising number and growing diversity.
These gatherings are organized by My House (www.myhousenola.org), a culinary events company formed last year by Barrie Schwartz. She is a recent transplant to New Orleans who has worked in various food trucks and saw an opportunity in the growing local interest.
"I think there are a lot of people here from other places where they have different ideas about food trucks, and so now they're learning what ours are all about," Schwartz says. "How often can you have an empanada, a falafel and then some great barbecue all right next to each other like this?"
Her next event is the Central City Food Truck Festival, scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday on the 2000 block of Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.
My House organized a similar event last fall with the Good Work Network, a nonprofit that helps local small businesses get started, and that group is again hosting this edition. At least 11 trucks are participating, including Fat Falafel, Rue Chow, La Cocinita, Frencheeze, NOLA Girl Food Truck, Foodie Call, Mama & Me Soul Food, Brigade Coffee, the Dat Dog Express cart, Empanada Intifada and the barbecue truck Grilling Shelling. Admission is free, and drinks are available from local brewer Covington Brewhouse and Old New Orleans Rum.
Schwartz says she's developing plans for a circuit of food truck events to be hosted in neighborhoods around the city. She wants to establish a regular schedule of monthly food truck gatherings, with one neighborhood hosting on the first week of each month, another hosting the second week and so forth.
"The mobility of the food truck is an essential part of this," she says. "It allows different neighborhoods to ... organize events around them."