Three Questions, Four Valley Food Trucks

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com. Miss a question? Go here.

With the Valley's food truck phenomenon still in full swing, for this week's Bites & Dishes, I wanted to ask some questions to a few of our mobile eats gurus.

Three came to mind: Is there food truck etiquette? What would make food truck festivals more successful? What kind of food truck is missing from the Valley scene?

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Read on to hear their answers and to see if they jibe with yours.

Question One: Is there food truck etiquette?

Brad Moore: Owner, Short Leash Hot Dogs

Come with a good attitude and a fun group of friends or family. Food trucks are a social experience and that often means standing in line for a bit, so it's better if you're in line with an enthusiastic group. But if you're by yourself, don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with your neighbor.

Laryn Callaway-Blok: Owner, Shine Coffee

Please be patient. We are making your order just for you, by hand, and in a trailer. It's really fun when we all remember this! Since we're inside our trucks, help keep the outside tidy 'n' nice by making sure trash makes it into the receptacles -- and let us know if it looks messy outside.

Korina Adkins: Owner, Frufrupops

If it's busy, try to know what you're ordering before you get to the window. After you order, keep your ears open and don't wander too far away, so that you can hear when it's ready.

Brian Webb: Owner, Hey Joe!

I can't speak for everyone, but we don't do substitutions and we don't give salt and pepper. Well, we do give salt with balut.

Question Two: What would make food truck festivals more successful?

Brad Moore: Owner, Short Leash Hot Dogs

Food truck festivals need to be more intimate. Food trucks are small operations with a limited capacity, so ticket sales need to be capped at a manageable number of guests.

I think we did a great job with the Roosevelt Row Food Truck Festival. Our goal was to limit wait times by eliminating transactions and offering unlimited samples. Almost every customer I have spoken with had a great time. They were able to sample food from at least 12 trucks, the music was amazing, and we had a great beer and wine selection. However, looking back, we probably should have capped the ticket sales at 3,000 instead of 4,000 and we should have had about five or six more trucks and alcohol on both sides of the grounds. The goal should be to provide a unique experience and value for the customer so that they become repeat customers for the trucks they like. Right now, there are too many event planners looking to make a quick buck by maximizing ticket sales, and this does the food truck operators a real disservice.

Laryn Callaway-Blok: Owner, Shine Coffee

Sell all tickets in advance except for a small number, that way the trucks have guaranteed sales and can make enough food in advance so no one runs out. Also, have them in a much larger space with room for lines to form next to the bar!

Korina Adkins: Owner, Frufrupops

A lower cap on ticket sales would probably help, and a metering system. For example, having a system whereby customers buy coupons -- or receive them with their tickets -- which they trade for samples.

Brian Webb: Owner, Hey Joe!

No entrance fees. This way if a line forms, the customer has nothing invested. It is truly for the people, and they can choose to wait or not. We have such a festival planned for the first Wednesday of March at the Phoenix Public Market.

Question Three: What kind of food truck is missing from the Valley scene?

Brad Moore: Owner, Short Leash Hot Dogs

A great doughnut truck, like the Gordough's truck in Austin. Huge, freshly made doughnuts topped with things like thick cut bacon and maple syrup or housemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Growing up in Texas, we had doughnut shops on every corner, and I miss that.

Laryn Callaway-Blok: Owner, Shine Coffee

We do have Filipino, but Thai or Viet/Cambodian/Laotian would be super --- and real French -- maybe Indian, too. There's some room!

Korina Adkins: Owner, Frufrupops

Gyoza. You're welcome. Bonus idea: empanadas or pasties. You're welcome again.

Brian Webb: Owner, Hey Joe!

A Lechon Baboy Truck. Lechon Baboy is famous in [Webb's wife] Margit's hometown of Lapu-Lapu City. It is a whole roasted pig stuffed with lemon grass and other seasonings. Anthony Bourdin proclaimed it "the best pork ever."

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