A new food truck park is opening in East Dallas to service a neighborhood that has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Called Chuckwagon Park, it's opening at 1716 N. Hall St., just shy of Ross Avenue, where it will host a cluster of food trucks in a parklike setting, with distinctive decorative touches that include reclaimed church-pew seating.
The park will comprise 20,000 square feet of space and accommodate up to 100 people. Founder Patrick Donlin says it'll debut March 4, and be open nights and weekends, with up to three trucks at a time, including two staples — Butcher's Son and Smokey Joe's BBQ — plus others that rotate in and out.
Donlin, who also restores old homes, will decorate the park with recycled materials, and commissioned a mural of their logo by local artist Brennen Bechtol.
"This part of town has been rapidly genrified, mostly with apartment buildings," he says. "We have our office in what used to be the Buddhist Center, and on one side, there's an open grassy area with trees. We thought as a team, what can we do that is going to be positive for the neighborhood? Something that's outside where we can work with creative small businesses, and that's what inspired it."
Another incentive was the idea of helping food trucks, which have seen some fall-off in daytime business since people are working from home and not going into the office. The hours of the park will take place during a gap when food trucks are generally not engaged.
"This will be mostly serving residents who live in this neighborhood and in Dallas, who would be coming nights and weekends," he says. "It lets us optimize the space and gives the opportunity for the businesses to be exposed to the market."
The park location is virtually surrounded by apartment buildings including Modera at Hall Street, Icon at Ross, Olympus at Ross, and Alexan Ross, with another two under construction including The Academic.
The food trucks will also innovate with special items that are not otherwise available.
"Kris Manning from Smokey Joe's BBQ has been in business for 25 years and his customers have their favorites," Donlin says. "Expanding to another location allows him to try some new flavors, which he might not do at the original storefront."
Donlin is adding value by setting up an electrical grid the trucks can draw from, so they're less reliant on generators which can produce a lot of noise and fumes.
"We're working to make it environmentally friendly," he says. "I'm very much into recycling, and that includes things like using church pews as our seating and doing a nursery with trees."
Eventually, they'll expand it into a farmers market type event where small businesses can come and set up shop for a day to complement the food.
There's parking on site with up to 25 spaces total — although with the vast number of apartment buildings that have sprung up in the area, a good majority of their visitors are likely to come on foot.