The Outdoor Cafeteria: A Look at the Different Food Trucks in Downtown Minneapolis
by Brenden Nickels
Brenden is a blogger and senior office assistant at KA’s Twin Cities office.
Now that the weather had finally warmed up here in Minneapolis (after a few psyche-outs), it means more people will be leaving the office and heading outside. And of course, it means that you can now also have lunch outside too.
Food Truck Avenue
The major food truck intersection here in downtown Minneapolis is on Second Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets. I like to call it “Food Truck Avenue.” I have gone to this area a couple of times, and I have been interested by the variety of what’s available. The trucks that go there vary each lunchtime, and you may not know what you plan to have that day. You could have a gyro, a hibachi bowl, some tacos, the list goes on and on.
Another place where food trucks often gather is The Commons, right next to US Bank Stadium (and also four blocks north from the KA offices). It’s also a nice place to hang out on a nice day, plus there’s places to sit down and eat your lunch before heading back, or if you’ve got some extra time, just people watch.
A few food trucks have also evolved into their own buildings. O’Cheeze, Vellee Deli, and Green and the Grain in the Baker Center, Smack Shack on Washington Avenue, and the Chef Shack on Franklin Avenue used to be just food trucks themselves, and a few restaurants like the Market Bar-B-Que on Nicollet Avenue and MyBurger, which has a few locations around the Twin Cities, including downtown, have started their own food trucks, so it kind of feels like a cycle to attract new customers and/or reach out to regular customers at the same time.
Timing Your Truck Stop Trip
Usually, the trucks park themselves and start serving customers at 11:00 am, and start to wrap up at around 1:00 pm. I’ve gone out during the noon hour, and there is usually a line, as well as people who have already ordered just waiting for their food.
If you’ve never tried it before, here’s how it works: Get in line, and when you’re at the front, order, pay (most food trucks do take cash or debit/credit card), then wait nearby for your order to be called. (Either they ask for your name or give you a number.) Simple as that. After you’ve received your food, you can either find a place outside to eat it or take it back to your office, but I highly recommend eating it outside, so you can take in the fresh air and the atmosphere.
Tip that Jar
Also, here’s some advice: if there is a tip jar, put at least a dollar in it, so you can show that you appreciate the work the food truck’s employees do. I have seen food truck cashiers do two things at once: take orders and hand those orders to the customers when ready. The fact that they are doing this to better serve their customers shows that they deserve those tips. This is a personal rule for me, as both my parents worked in food service in the past, and one of the things that they’ve told me is that you should always tip your waiter/waitress when you go out to eat. I believe that the same applies to food truck employees.
All in all, it really is an interesting experience. I suggest you try it out sometime for lunch, or at a festival (like the Uptown Food Truck Festival on June 24 or the St. Paul Food Truck Festival in Lowertown August 18) this summer, or whenever you do see a food truck. (Note to KA employees, you can check our backyard for a variety of food trucks appearing in the FINNEGANS courtyard. It’ll be way different than just going through the Skyway or staying at the office, I can tell you that.View Comments