We’ve heard about a couple of recent developments that should liven up the street food scene in Philly.
First up, four food trucks recently received makeovers from ArtWorks!, an after-school arts program for Philadelphia youth run by the Mural Arts Program. A fifth mural is in progress. The trucks now sport brightly colored vinyl wrappings to help distinguish them from the brick and mortar cityscape.
“The trucks sort of blended into the background because they have been there so long,” said project coordinator Sherman Fleming. She added that the designs draw attention to the history of food trucks and raise awareness about their businesses. The program also encourages students to think about how art can be used as a tool for entrepreneurs and independent business owners, Squires said.
Each truck’s art is unique to the stories of its owners. Rami’s features a Lebanese flag. Tom McClusker, who owns a food truck on Drexel University’s campus, incorporated his interest in Day of the Dead, telling Shira to “go wild,” said Squires. “Trucks themselves are a good metaphor to celebrate immigration since they literally move around the city,” Walinsky wrote in an e-mail. The design process involved collaboration between the artist, students and food truck owners.
Owners so far are pleased with the results. McClusker noted that customers are more likely to stay and chat, and has noticed an uptick in business, said Fleming. Soo Le, owner of Koja, said customers have described the result as “beautiful,” “colorful” and “amazing.” “They like it,” Dakko agreed. He said customers stop by to ask about the designs and compliment them. [The Daily Pennsylvanian]
Next up, a new dessert truck called Sugar Philly Truck (SPT for short) is set to open on Monday (Jan 25th) around 36th and Walnut Streets that will sell gourmet desserts to students at affordable prices. SPT will frequent every major university in Philadelphia, including Drexel, Penn, Temple, and USP, and their home base will be on 38th Street, between Walnut and Locust Streets, according to the owners.
SPT is the creation of Drexel ’08 grad, John Suh and University of Pennsylvania ’03 grad, Franklin Shen, who plan to rely heavily on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as their Web site, sugarphillytruck.com, to let people know where they’re going to be at any given time. (Wonder where they got that idea?)
The truck itself is a converted mobile post office that was formerly stationed in front of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Suh said that the SPT creators bought it this year, fitted it with a kitchen, and redesigned the exterior.
Sugar Philly Truck’s menu includes chocolate bread pudding with an Earl Grey tea crème anglaise, peanut panna cotta accompanied by a concord grape sauce and dusted with chocolate crumbs and toasted peanuts, as well as many other deserts. [The Triangle]
Last up is what we at NYSF would call Honorary Street Food. Opening the week of Feb 1st is Maru Global a quick-serve restaurant that’s the first place in Philly to focus on takoyaki, the puffy, fried crepe balls that are traditional Japanese street food. It’s usually studded with octopus, but Tokyo-born chef Ryo Igarashi and his wife, Nicole, are offering multiple varieties, including Philly cheesesteak, pizza, spicy shrimp, barbecue, and sweet-and-sour miso. The original, based on scallion and red ginger, can be made to order with shrimp, chicken, sirloin, or octopus. They’re sold six for $3.25.
Maru Global is at 255 S. 10th St. (267-273-0567) and should not be confused with Maru, a Japanese/Korean restaurant that opened last month at 206 Market St. in Old City. Maru means “round” or “perfect” in Japanese. [Philly.com]