Where are the Memphis Food Trucks?

Posted by Holly Whitfield | August 11th 2011 3144 0

Update January 2019: There are loads of Memphis food trucks! Read more about them here.

A few days ago, someone on Twitter asked why there weren’t any food trucks in Memphis, despite a city ordinance allowing them that passed earlier this year.

I’ve been wondering the same thing.

Food Truck Party in Court Square, Memphis, Tenn.

When the ordinance came up for vote in April, people packed downtown’s Court Square for a big food truck lunch. When the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” came through town, the lines were ridiculous. But save for the odd hotdog stand downtown or the mobile fare offered at festivals, there are are seemingly no food trucks to be found in Memphis.

So, what gives?

Given past events, we know that people in Memphis will support food trucks. We know that a few restaurants (Parker’s Water Ice, YoLo, Fuel Cafe) have trucks.

You could argue that Memphis doesn’t have much of a pedestrian culture. Maybe that’s it, but Nashville doesn’t either, and they’ve got tons of trucks selling everything from tacos to grilled cheese on a daily basis.

Pedestrian cultures don’t just happen, though – they have to be made. It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem, though – in order for someone to want to open a business outside, they’ll want to make sure there are enough people outside in the area, but if there’s no reason to go outside, there won’t be any people, and so on.

Great Food Truck Race in Midtown

So maybe we should start small. Park at Overton Park on a Saturday. Pull up to Court Square during lunch on a Friday. Someone could make a killing parked at one of the inlets that leads to the Greenline on a weekday evening.

Maybe I’m totally missing something. Maybe no one wants to take the risk first. Maybe no one’s had the time or money to get a truck up and running. I’m not sure why we don’t have regular food trucks yet.

But what I do know is that if someone parks one regularly, I’ll be there, cash in hand, ready to eat.

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. kpdsayle says:

    I can almost guarantee that if trucks park on Adams at Third by the park next to 200 Jefferson (Darth Vader building) and they let people know it, they will have business galore. 200 Jefferson no longer has any kind of snack bar, and we are left with two vending machines. There are hundreds of Court workers, government employees, etc. in that area, and NO restaurants closer than the Mall fast food.

  2. Dan Murrell says:

    It would have to be some REALLY good food for me to wait outside when the temp is over 100. Maybe the trucks will come when the temp remains below 95?

  3. Gigi Ballester says:

    I also loved the food trucks downtown. I hope they are not a one-time happening. Fuel’s truck was awesome.

  4. Gigi Ballester says:

    @ Dan – I’m sure they can find shaded areas downtown where they can park. When is really hot, I’m sure everyone will pick-up and go back to the office to eat.

    They will also get carry-out customers from the hotels nearby.

    But, the trucks must be in the same area on the same days to build up a clientele.

  5. Randi says:

    I have a food truck idea. I’m working on my business plan and looking for investors!

  6. JJ Jarrell says:

    I’ve pondered the same thing. There is definitely a market for it downtown, but is there a spot downtown that is both nearby potential customers and 50 feet away from an existing restaurant as the law requires?

  7. Brandon says:

    Though they’re technically legal, there’s still some ridiculous rules and fees attached to operating a food truck in Memphis. The hot dog guy downtown had to shut down because of the fees.

    After having to walk forever to get lunch during jury duty Monday, I second a food truck near 200 Jefferson.

  8. I am about one month away from launching MarksGrill FoodTruck in Memphis.

    Follow me at Facebook.com/MarksGrill Twitter.com/MarksGrill and http://www.MarksGrill.com

    I have been quietly building a brand new custom FoodTruck in East Memphis for the past 8 months. It is a one of a kind eye catching spectacle. Get ready Memphis

  9. Angela says:

    I work downtown and there are a couple of food trucks making the rounds these days, and I am following them on twitter to get the daily loations, but I need more!! Can you work on a list of all the food trucks that are up and running now? There have to be more out there than the two I am currently tracking, right?

  10. Tyler says:

    Marksgrill do you ever drive downtown? I work down there and I would love something new

  11. Hunger Monkey Food Truck says:

    Food trucks have many limits and restrictions,  not only set by the city but also the general operation of this type of business.  Downtown is a great location, if you can find a spot to park!!!  We will be there this Friday to give it a try, providing we can get a spot!  Thanks so much to everyone interested in the food trucks, from all of us, we appreciate your support and enthusiasm.  Hunger Monkey is focused on providing great healthy food, we always have a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free option on our menu and we are happy to make your order any way you like it. I hope to find a great spot so I can serve these employees in need. Friday Nov 1st  – as close to 200 Jefferson as possible, 10 am -2 pm

  12. We are in the process of acquring, a food trailer, our product will be Jamaican Jerk meat and Jamaican food. If you can tell us where a food truck is needed we will be there. Our trailer will be in operation at the end of July. Thanks Julian Harker Sr

    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Hi Julian,

      I don’t book food trucks or provide booking information unless I’m planning an I Love Memphis event. You might want to contact Memphis Food Truckers Association for help. 

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