Salt Lake City will get a new food truck park, thanks to owner of ComCom Kitchen

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As the great singer Lizzo might say: It’s about damn time.

Salt Lake City will finally get its first food truck park, thanks to the Ballpark-based owner of the commissary kitchen known as ComCom Kitchen.

In partnership with Granato’s Gourmet Market, ComCom owner Danny Cheng plans to operate a food truck park he’s calling Block Party 300, in the Ballpark neighborhood at 1391 S. 300 W.

The year-round, indoor/outdoor food truck park is an effort to offer both food vendors an opportunity to make money with low overhead and residents the chance to pick from any number of food options during a given visit.

“This is going to be a year-round thing — we’re going to open the indoor seating,” Cheng said. “We can open throughout the winter whereas most food truck parks shut down.”

Salt Lake City suffers from a dearth of places where food vendors can simply set up shop in a semi-permanent location, and where people in search of food can choose from a variety of dining options in a single location.

Food halls have recently begun filling the void throughout the city, including locations in the Gateway, the Exchange and the Granary. Those differ from areas where food vendors can try to prove themselves for a very low cost, as is the case in a food truck park.

Haters will say this was set up. 300 West has been remarkably improved with the addition of street trees, continuous sidewalks and, most importantly, a two-way cycle track now informally known as the 3-Line. Photo by Taylor Anderson

Regulations in place have made it difficult for food truck parks to thrive, as they do in places like Portland and Austin, Texas.

As part of a series of regulations that largely protect the brick and mortar restaurant lobby, state law requires food trucks to have an agreement with a professional kitchen, and to park at that kitchen overnight.

Many states have areas where multiple food trucks simply locate on a semi-permanent basis without having to relocate, offering visitors multiple options in one spot.

Block Party 300 benefits from the fact that Granato’s is a commissary, so food truck owners can partner with the location, prepare food and find ample parking in one place. Cheng is now hoping to bring in the customers.

Cheng said opening up Block Party 300 is an attempt to serve both the public as well as vendors.

“Instead of driving for a half-hour, setting up for a half-hour, breaking down for a half-hour and heading home for a half-hour, you could save two hours every day if you partner with ComCom Kitchen,” Cheng said.

Customers, meanwhile will be served by a list of vendors that will likely change over time as things get settled at the location.

Cheng has a knack with finding locations that customers flock to. His ComCom Kitchen at 67 W. 1700 S. has remained full with roughly two-dozen food businesses. The Granato’s partnership will be his third location.

This spot is located in a big box retail zone on 300 West that is quickly being redeveloped.

Portland is the food truck capital of the U.S. Sometimes, the trucks don’t even have wheels. The parks provide multiple dining options in a single location for neighbors and visitors alike. Photo via Google Maps.

The city recently nearly completed its reconstruction of 300 West, which added a two-way protected bicycle track.

In past conversations, Cheng said he was interested in operating a food truck park, but he hesitated doing it at his marquee location in Ballpark. He didn’t want to create competition for neighboring El Meño’s Mexican restaurant, he said.

The new location will benefit from its proximity on the 300 West cycle track (many people are about to call it the 3-Line), and in an area that will likely continue seeing the construction of new housing in the coming years.

Shades — formerly Shades of Pale — will be relocating across the street, allowing people to hop across the rebuilt street to grab a beer while visiting Block Park 300.

Cheng said his short-term goal is to let people know the years of construction on 300 West are now over. The 3-Line is built. The Bees are still playing in the ballpark, and Cheng touted the massive surface parking lot at Lowe’s as a free parking option for people who don’t bike or ride transit to the AAA baseball games.

Cheng is talking with food vendors who are interested in locating at Block Party 300 for either the commissary or the food truck park, or both. Early adopters might be in for a good deal.

“For pretty much this whole year we’re not charging anything,” Cheng said. “I’m just trying to build the traffic. Money will eventually come if I can build this food truck park the right way.”

Email Taylor Anderson

Interested in seeing where developers are proposing and building new apartments in Salt Lake, or just want to support a local source of news on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Subscribe to Building Salt Lake.

Posted by Taylor Anderson

Taylor Anderson grew up near Chicago and made his way West to study journalism at the University of Montana. He's been a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, Bend Bulletin and Salt Lake Tribune. A move from Portland, Oregon, to Salt Lake City opened his eyes to the importance of good urban design for building strong neighborhoods. He lives on the border of the Liberty Wells and Ballpark neighborhoods.