Awesome Things About Cities: Food Carts

In my mind, one of the best things by far in any city is the opportunity to eat a variety of tasty and creative food.  Of course, awesome food exists wherever there are humans, but there’s something special about bringing diverse groups of people into a defined area.  Cultural exchange, as I believe my primary school teachers called it.

What I do consider to be a mostly urban phenomena is the modern food truck.  Food carts aren’t new by any stretch of the imagination, but mobile food culture in the US has grown to the point of backlash and co-option.  (Which is a form of success, yeah?)  Food trucks and urban planning have enjoyed a strong and supportive relationship for many years, driven by concentrations of the kind of people who find a thrill in tracking mobile food vendors through interactive maps and twitter.

Food carts are such a big thing that they’ve somewhat outgrown their own mobility.  Cities across America hold regular food cart courts with a revolving or permanent set of mobile food businesses.  Like many planning trends, this arguably began in Portland, OR, but–like many good ideas–it spread.  After testing the waters with several successful food carts, and years of food truck themed festivals, Columbus now has its own permanent food truck court at Columbus Commons every Thursday.   I find this to be ridiculously exciting as the last food cart court I attended at the Commons was so popular that I was unable to try anything.  Another thrilling option (that has been around for a little while) is Franklinton’s Dinin’ Hall which is open M-F from 11-2.    Community building, micro economic development, local entrepreneurs and food.  Does it get any better?

If you don’t want to wait until next week to survey some of the many food truck options in Columbus, there’s always the Food Truck and Cart Hop by Hal and Al’s on the southside. It’s a good excuse to bring out the bike from winter storage.  Secure bike parking is free and the weather is supposed to be fine.

(Though we all know this is Ohio, so bring a rain coat just in case.)

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