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The Nashville Food Truck Scene is booming, (66 of them at least, by my count, and according to the Nashville Food Truck Association) and as an avid lover of non-processed, artisanally-made food, I couldn’t be happier – and those of us in Nashville couldn’t be luckier. Our phenomenal growth as a city is providing inspiration to aspiring cooks who are already here, to meet the challenge of feeding the growling bellies of our growing town. At the same time, it’s drawing culinarily-inspired visionaries from outside of Nashville to us, like fruit flies to a bowl of ripe peaches.
The kind of growth Nashville is experiencing is tempting some of us who’ve been here for many years to abandon that “We’ll leave the light on for ya” spirit, and contemplate the thought that…maybe…if we turn the porch light off, and hunker down real low, and stay real quiet, they’ll go away. Because the traffic is starting to get a li’l bit stressful. But, no, that is not the Nashville way. Because REAL Nashvillians have a way of making you feel like all their lives they’ve been waiting to meet YOU. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. We have a reputation for hospitality, and we aim to keep it.
I love the idea of food trucks, because I love the idea of people who are pursuing their dreams. One of the main reasons that so many folks go into the food industry is because they love seeing the pleasure that eating good food brings to the people they love. The idea of taking something that we love doing anyway, and turning it into our career is a dream that many of us have, but getting into the food business is not an easy thing to do.
When I first moved out here to the Boonies, my cheesecakes had acquired a reputation of some renown among my friends, and there was a fabulous restaurant out this way that I thought MIGHT just be interested in offering my cheesecake on their dessert menu. After doing the research, I discovered that there are LAWS governing these things, and kitchens where foods are produced have to be approved by the Health Department, and when I discovered all the legal hoops that had to be jumped through, I abandoned my little idea. I had kids to homeschool, after all. Flash forward about 4 years, and along comes the arrival of the popularity of the Food Truck. Because of my own research into the food industry, I thought to myself: where are these people making their sauces? Where are they preparing what has to be prepared before their sandwich can be served?
Well, someone else in Nashville was thinking about those same questions. She took those questions, looking at them as a need, and turned that need into a business opportunity. Irene Bradley of The Cook’s Kitchen had a business dream back when she was in 8th grade. Irene and her sister were making some delicious pound cakes and butter cookies and selling them door to door in her neighborhood. They got more orders than they could handle, and with only one oven, wished with all their hearts that they had a commercial space available to them where they could knock out dozens of cookies and cakes in a much shorter amount of time. Irene abandoned her dream at that time, and went on to become a nurse. But with the advent of food trucks in Nashville, once again, she saw the need for a space where the entrepreneurial dreams of people who wanted to bring their good food to a wider audience could be met.
The Cook’s Kitchen is a 25,000 foot space, located at 1500 2nd Ave. S., near the state fairgrounds, where Nolensville road splits into 2nd Ave. As a former truck terminal, it is the perfect space for someone with big culinary dreams to park their food truck. Irene also sells ice and propane to the food truck owners who park their vehicles there, and rents out her health department-approved professional kitchen by the hour, or by the month: 15,000 sq. feet of it. The Cook’s Kitchen, by the way, is not JUST for food truck owners. Many small food producers, and caterers rent space there.
I was invited to attend an event hosted by The Cook’s Kitchen, called “What the Truck Friday”. Four food trucks catered the evening: Lil’ Choo Choo BBQ, Big-Staxx BBQ Truck , Little Cancun on the Go, and the Pita Pit, and the Tim McDonald Band provided musical entertainment. It was held in the very cool 10,000 sq. ft. space that is under the same roof as The Cook’s Kitchen that Irene calls The Platform. At The Platform, there is a stage, and a huge area available for tables and seating, and the overhead doors were thrown open, so that the party that felt like an outdoor event, all the while we were sheltered from the elements. In my opinion, The Platform has incredible potential as a venue space, but I don’t think enough Nashvillians are aware of its existence, so I wanted to help spread the word.
Later this month, I was invited to attend the grand opening of another Food Truck that has come to Nashville, and the absolutely delicious offerings of this truck I can highly recommend: Music City Brisket. Their opening was held outside a local Nashville treasure: Yazoo Brewing Company. What a perfect pairing that was! My brisket sandwich was simply scrumptious, and the avocado and sweet potato fries were to die for! (My daughter, who dislikes sweet potatoes, was an immediate convert the second she tasted them! High praise indeed!)
If you’d like to find out where Music City Brisket. or any of these wonderful food trucks will be serving next, or check out their menus, click on the links I’ve given you to each of their respective websites. If you follow them on Twitter, most food trucks tweet out their location for that day. (The newest addition to the Nashville Food Truck Scene, Music City Brisket, is scheduled to serve lunch at McKay Books, on Aug. 1st. I’m thinking you don’t want to miss it!)
If you live in Nashville, or are coming to Nashville on a little vacation: watch out for these food trucks. And if you enjoyed this article, shares, tweets, and pins are ALWAYS appreciated!