Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry launched a program this summer called Truckin’ Tuesdays, in which local food truck owners can show up at Civic Plaza Downtown, park their mobile eateries, and sell food every Tuesday at lunchtime.
He also started First Friday Food Trucks, where as many as 15 food trucks can set up in the parking lot in the northeast corner of First and Central from 6 to 10 p.m., the first Friday of every month, with Sept. 5 being the last one this summer.
“Eating at one of our local food trucks is affordable and a good way to get a real taste of Albuquerque while helping support small businesses,” Berry said in an email. “Bringing the trucks to Civic Plaza is a great way to connect city and downtown employees with these culinary entrepreneurs.”
On an overcast Tuesday in mid-July, one culinary entrepreneur was set up; at that time, the area had the capacity for only two food trucks.
Once construction in the area is complete, there will be room for eight food trucks, according to Breanna Anderson, a spokeswoman for Berry.
Michele Haskins, co-owner of Hot Off The Press mobile food truck, which specializes in grilled sandwiches, had the plaza to herself.
She was serving up Cubano sandwiches, burnt tacos and other sandwiches to a line of five or six customers, some of whom lived in the neighborhood and walked over, others who worked in the area and were on lunch break.
“This is a great location,” said Haskins. “It’s well worth our while to come down.”
She has been coming every Tuesday for about two months, and fills between 50 and 65 orders each time, she said.
One of them was for an apple chutney cheddar sandwich.
“It was a good sandwich – I think it’s always different when you try something like apple chutney,” said Jasmine Storey, 30, a court clinician at 2nd District Court, who walked over with her mother, Theresa Sandoval, for their weekly lunch date.
It was their first time at the food truck. “I totally approve. It was great. It’s a lighter sandwich. I didn’t want a very big sandwich, that’s why I got that one. It was perfect for what I wanted.”
Added Sandoval, 54, an attorney with Bernalillo County, of the Cubano sandwich she ordered: “They had a marinated shredded pork, so they made it a little different from a regular Cubano,” a sandwich of grilled pork, ham, cheese and a pickle on a grilled ciabatta roll. “I’m looking forward to going again.”
Bill Ludeke, 66, retired from working for the United Way in Arizona, walked over with his partner, Susan Courtright, 65, a retired Arizona school teacher, with whom he relocated to Albuquerque less than a year ago. They now live at First and Fruit.
He also had a Cubano. “It was great. You got a lot for your money.”
He spent about $9 for the sandwich, chips and a drink, he said.
Courtright ordered the burnt tacos stuffed with chicken. “It had a lot of meat in it,” she said. “It was really good. I got three tacos, but I could only manage to eat two of them.”
Truckin’ Tuesdays, which goes from 11:30 until 1:30, ends Tuesday, Aug. 26.