Dining With Denise Neil

Could Towne East become an indoor haven for food trucks?

Dining with Denise: Lumpia rolls local chef to success

(FILE VIDEO -- 2017) Denise Neil visits Parsnipity Cafe and its companion food truck to learn more about lumpia, a Filipino snack that cafe owner Cynthia Wilson specializes in.
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(FILE VIDEO -- 2017) Denise Neil visits Parsnipity Cafe and its companion food truck to learn more about lumpia, a Filipino snack that cafe owner Cynthia Wilson specializes in.

Sure, they’ll have to drive into the mall.

But beyond that sure-to-be-strange sight, there’s no reason that some food trucks couldn’t park inside Towne East Square and serve hungry shoppers.

That’s what Stephanie Satrape, Towne East’s specialty leasing representative, decided, and she’s worked out a deal with parent company Simon Malls to begin allowing certain types of local food truck and other vendors to set up inside the mall.

The first food truck trial will happen on Saturday, when local cupcake truck The Brown Box Bakery parks outside of Dillard’s on the lower level and serves from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Satrape said she’s already had a few other local vendors set up in the mall, including a T-shirt company out of Newton, and it went well. She’d like to begin inviting more food trucks, figuring the mall not only offers a captive audience but it also gets truckers and diners out of the elements.

The only hangup is that, for safety reasons, she can invite only trucks that don’t have stoves or require hoods or generators. She does have places for trucks to plug in to electricity.

“I’m open to food uses and non food uses,” she said. “Simon has given us the flexibility to make it more affordable than it’s been in the past.”

Ginger Wilson, who owns Brown Box Bakery with her friend Tami McCue, said that parking in the mall sounded a little strange at first but now the duo is looking forward to it.

If it works out, the mall could be an ideal parking spot during less-than-ideal weather.

“How cool would that be, especially in the winter when it’s freezing?” Wilson said.

Truckers interested in a mall shift should contact Satrape by e-mailing Stephanie.Satrape@simon.com.

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