I had a day off of work and was being lazy when I began to feel a mite peckish. I checked my twitter feed and discovered that the Nammi Food Truck was setting up in a Walgreens parking lot on Beltline in Addison – not too far from my humble home. Some Bánh mì would hit the spot, so off I went.
One of the tough nuts to crack as gourmet food trucks become more and more common is where do they find a place to park. Restaurant owners tend to be powerful political players and always work to restrict their competition – especially mobile cavalry type competition that can swoop in on a moment’s notice and gobble up valuable customers.
Now I realize how difficult it can be to run a restaurant and sympathize with their plight. But I also don’t think that competition is always a bad thing. The more options people have the more they will eat out and the more business will be driven to restaurants in general. I’m in the minority on this, of course.
So the food trucks have to fight restrictive ordinances to find a place to set up. It is rare to find them out in the suburbs, so I was glad to find one at a Walgreens.
Addison is lousy with restaurants and all the parking lots were full with folks out for lunch from work. There were only a couple spaces left in the Walgreens lot. A steady flow of customers, about two or three deep were ordering at the little window at the bright blue truck. Everyone would order, then stand around typing on their smart phones while their sandwiches were put together. I waited my turn, ordered a grilled pork Bánh mì and pulled a cold Diet Dr. Pepper from a mound of ice in the front of the truck.
“Hey, I’m sorry, but I’m not allowed to sell you a Dr. Pepper here,” the guy in the truck said. “It’s a deal we have with the location.”
“Oh,” I said, “I guess they want me to come inside the drug store and buy my drink there.”
The guy nodded. I guess that’s fair. They give up a bit of their parking lot in exchange for customers that come inside for drinks and maybe some ibuprofen while they are at it. I almost went inside, but didn’t want the hassle.
I had writing to do, my first strong idea for a story that I had had in weeks, so I carted my sandwich off to the library, and filled my water bottle from the drinking fountain.
It was very good, by the way.