Here's Why Washington, D.C., Is the Capital of Food Trucks

<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pi on Wheels, one of DC's many food trucks | © ep_jhu / Flickr</a>
<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Pi on Wheels, one of DC's many food trucks | © ep_jhu / Flickr</a>
Photo of Nicole Hampton
20 November 2017

After starting as a BBQ food truck in Los Angeles in 2008, the food truck phenomenon made its way around the country, straight to the capital. Washington, D.C., currently has 150 food trucks, with more popping up each day. But what exactly makes D.C. the perfect environment for these meals on wheels to thrive?

For starters, D.C. is a place of high-pressured industry. So when there’s only 10 minutes before the next meeting, lunchers are more likely to run outside to catch a food truck with a short line rather than wait for a restaurant that takes twice as long to get their food and costs three times as much.

On the business side, operating a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Washington, D.C., means sky-high rent, which is rising each month, and adhering to stringent rules and regulations that make it difficult to get feet on the ground. Food trucks offer the solution.

DC line food trucks | © Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Washingtonians who have put their entire savings into these trucks intelligently acknowledge and cater to their hungry clientele, namely business professionals, by setting up shop outside downtown offices and places like the Navy Yard during lunch hours. People in D.C. also prefer using their spacious sidewalks to get from A to B rather than drive or take the metro, so trucks are bound to catch a lot of traffic.

Food trucks also roam where the gettin’ is good, like at parks and festivals, which have proven to be a major score. These rolling caterers are so commonplace, locals even use dedicated app Food Truck Fiesta, which locates favorite food trucks in real time.

Food Truck Thursdays in Washington, D.C. | © Ted Eytan/Flickr

Perhaps most importantly, both the food truck owners and their customers are truly diverse people. Serving a hungry clientele that enjoys trying new food from different worlds, there are not only people coming from all over—inside the United States and out—proudly serving signature and authentic regional dishes but also some inventive establishments with growing reputations.

Delicious Cuban sandwiches from a DC food truck | © Tammy Gordon / Flickr

There we have it: a steady supply and an eager demand keep the food truck trend going in Washington, D.C. The craze is real and, hopefully, here to stay.

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