For three years, the Gilbert Food Truck Court has been held every Friday night at 385 N. Gilbert Road in the city's Heritage District. The event tonight, however, will be the last at that location. The move to a new locale isn't by choice. Instead, organizers say they're being pushed out the area by town officials.
According to Julia Martinez, the Gilbert Food Truck Food Court's coordinator, Gilbert town officials told organizers that after this week, the event would no longer be welcome in the area. That's despite the fact that Martinez says residents enjoy having food trucks in the area.
"A lot of Gilbert says we’re what brings life to the Heritage District and we’re their favorite part," she said. "That’s been pretty much ignored by Gilbert town officials."
The decision comes after the town decided not to extend the event's contract because it will be developing the current site of the food court, a city of Gilbert spokesman said.
The Food Court has been around for more than three years now, growing along with the Heritage District. Big name Arizona restaurants like Pomo Pizzeria, Barrio Queen, and LoLo's Chicken and Waffles have also moved in.
At first, Martinez said town officials were very cooperative in keeping the event around. However, as the district became more popular and developed, she claimed more and more local businesses voiced opposition to the food trucks.
Brendan McGuinness, owner of The American Poutine Co. truck, said he's disappointed with the town's decision not to extend the food court's contract, although he understands the need for development.
"Downtown Gilbert's growing so quickly, that was a great spot for us to be," he said.
But this doesn't mean food trucks are a thing of the past for the entire city of Gilbert. AZ Feastivals, the company that organizes the Food Truck Court event, still holds a food truck gathering in Gilbert Town Square every Thursday called Gilbert Town Square Feastival, and may move the event to Fridays after the holidays.
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"Everyone says they want to keep this event going, but if they don’t come down to Gilbert Town Square and find us and support us and help us spread the word, it’s going to go away for good," Martinez said.
A spokesman for the city says officials are working with the trucks to other spots in Gilbert to keep the event going.
For more information check the AZ Feastival's website.