Devices aren’t the only thing going mobile these days! Since Riverside County lifted major restrictions on full-service food trucks in April 2014 and several desert cities, including Cathedral City, Indio, and Palm Desert, have since approved food truck regulations, “restaurants on wheels” have taken off here in the Coachella Valley.
At La Quinta’s recent Humana Challenge golf event, the Roll’N Lobster food truck was one of the more popular eateries. Having relocated from New England to Los Angeles, its owner Peter Crest prides himself on serving fresh, quality East Coast seafood.
Adjacent to Cathedral City’s weekly Farmers’ Market which is open from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Gourmet Food Truck Fare takes place on the first Sunday of each month through May from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Town Square. Located at 68-701 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, it sits in front of City Hall and the Fountain of Life where the community can gather, have fun, and enjoy beautiful surroundings. The Coachella Valley Arts Scene, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting art, music, and culture in the Coachella Valley, provides live entertainment. Offering some of the best craft beers from La Quinta Brewing Company and Coachella Valley Brewing Company is a beer garden.
Food truck participants from Orange and Los Angeles Counties have included California Grill Truck which makes a Korean grilled cheese sandwich, Eat ’Em Up Truck featuring organic and all-natural ingredients, Falasophy Truck with its vegetarian and vegan dishes, Chef Chris Kim’s Rolling Sushi Van, Classic Tacos, whose owner hails from Indio, Piaggio on Wheels featuring a variety of Argentine specialties, and Grandpa’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
Under the county ordinance which will give cities leeway to add their own restrictions, trucks must undergo and pass inspections by county health officials and obtain annual permits. Like restaurants, they will also be graded on a letter system. Truck operators are required to go through a commissary to store supplies and food. Cathedral City’s ShareKitchen, a non-profit incubator for culinary entrepreneurs, is considering building a large facility in Riverside County.
Palm Desert, the first valley city to welcome food trucks, put a 750-foot buffer zone around existing restaurants. According to maps drawn up by the city’s planning department, the rules would make El Paseo and Highway 111 off limits. Restrictions dictate that food trucks may operate May 1 through September 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or 7 p.m. and keep trucks 1,500 feet away from schools. Supporters of the food truck industry who want to see it develop in the Coachella Valley object to the strict guidelines.
By Hilary Christiansen