Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita food trucks keep running, even when temps are frigid

The majority of Wichita food trucks continue to operate through cold-weather months.
The majority of Wichita food trucks continue to operate through cold-weather months. File photo

Winter is not ideal food truck weather.

But Wichita’s fleet of food trucks will continue operating through the cold season, with some of them making adjustments to make things more comfortable for their customers.

Though local food trucks have suspended until spring their frequent organized meet ups and rallies, where several gather in one place with hopes of drawing large crowds, almost all plan to continue operating throughout the winter, both on their normal routes and at the new ICT Pop-Up Urban Park at 121 E. Douglas, where most have committed to serving year round.

Jeff Schauf, the unofficial leader of the food truck community and co-owner of the Flying Stove, said that food truckers have worked out a schedule that will ensure at least one of them is serving at the park over lunch every weekday. Among the many that will serve there regardless of the weather are the Flying Stove, B.S. Sandwich Press, Brown Box Bakery, Mr. Natural Soul Kitchen, the Kamayan Truck, Charlie’s Pizza Taco, Garden of Eatin’, Sunflower Espresso, Funky Monkey Munchies, Brickhouse BBQ and Lynn’s Curbside Cookout. (To follow along with the pop-up park schedule, visit https://www.facebook.com/ICTPopUpPark).

Schauf said that business slows down in the winter because people don’t want to stand around in the cold to wait on their food. But the Flying Stove has developed a system used by many food trucks that combats that problem. People can text their orders to the Flying Stove’s business number, indicate what time they’ll arrive, and the business will have the food ready to go. Schauf said he’ll even slide on his parka and run the food out to the customers in their cars.

The Flying Stove also keeps busy in winter months by catering parties or parking outside of holiday events, he said.

B.S. Sandwich Press owners Jodi and Doug Buchanan also keep their regular route in the winter, Jodi said. In addition to their Pop-Up Park commitments, the two take their recently upgraded truck to office buildings throughout the week. Workers like being able to just dart out to the parking lot rather than fire up their cars to retrieve lunch, Jodi said. She also accepts advance orders via text messages to the business line.

“We’re definitely not as busy in wintertime as we are in the fall and spring, but it is still is worthwhile for us to go out,” she said.

The Garden of Eatin’ food truck also will stay active throughout the winter, though owner Rebecca Amos said she’s reluctant to take the trailer out on the roads during icy weather. On those days, she said, she’ll deliver food to people who place five or more orders.

Amos and other truck owners say they will also continue to serve outside of breweries and coffee shops like the Hopping Gnome, Central Standard Brewing and Reverie Coffee Roasters.

One note: The German food truck Let’m Eat Brats will be closed through December while its owners vacation but will be back on the streets in January.

The first meet-ups of the year generally happen in March.