Rust Belt Market Meets Motor City Street Eats

The food truck business is a relatively new phenomenon in the Metro Detroit area, but it’s an idea that is catching on quickly and raising a lot of questions along the way. Though it may seem like a simple idea – set a truck in a semi-permanent location and sell some food – several area people are debating the guidelines associated with the new trend. The fees, locations, frequency and signage laws are being questioned by law makers, local business folk and citizens.

Some brick-and-motor shops are concerned with decreased revenue with food trucks in close proximity.Others fret about the low fees associated with food trucks, arguing that brick-and-motor shops require significantly more cost for city-related things (taxes, trash removal, etc).

Some cities may shy away from the challenges involved with allowing food trucks; however, other cities – like Ferndale and Royal Oak – welcome the innovative business idea. The details still need to be ironed out, but these two cities are well on their way to creating an exciting environment on the streets.

Royal Oak hosted the first Motor City Street Eats food truck rally and drew more than 1,200 folks. The event was so popular that it has become a monthly event, taking place the second Wednesday each month. Ferndale recently joined the fun, incorporating the Rust Belt Market with the dining delights.

I stopped by the second Motor City Street Eats at the Rust Belt this Thursday. As my boyfriend and I approached the alley lined with food trucks, we saw countless people walking back to their cars, toting their food truck goodies. People were so excited about the event that they were getting to go orders! I was stoked to see that.

After examining our options, I was slightly disappointed at the number of Mexican-themed food trucks. I’d like some more variety to the food offerings. We decided on Taco Mama, merely from a price stand point. The options at each Mexican location were comparable, with a few slight differences. Justin, my boyfriend, ordered a beef taco and jalapeno slider and I got a chicken taco. We paid $7 for the three. For the price, I think we got our money’s worth. The tacos weren’t anything unique, but they were pretty good.

The Detroit Bucket Drummers put on a great show for rally goers. The Rust Belt Market was opened, prepared with seating inside and live music. It was pretty quiet inside. I hope the more they have these events, the more the vendors get some extra business. The Rust Belt Market is a fabulous location for this event because it combines two really cool things happening in our area – the artist expansion and the enjoyment of food trucks. Overall, it was a really enjoyable time. The happy faces, inexpensive food and art made for a worth while visit to downtown Ferndale.

I love what is happening to the area. I love the widespread respect for the artist community and the innovative thinking. Ferndale just announced the installation of a 10-piece exhibit throughout the city. Royal Oak recently established a Commission for the Arts. And art markets are popping up everywhere I look. It’s a beautiful world we live in.

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