Friday, May 4, 2012

The Return of Bites Off Broadway

By Luke Tsai
Fri, May 4, 2012 at 3:31 PM

City of Oakland approval pending, next Friday, May 11, will mark the return of Bites Off Broadway, the weekly convocation of gourmet food trucks in front of the Studio One Art Center on 45th Street. The brainchild of community organizer Karen Hester, the event last took place back in October — since then Oakland has instituted a new interim policy allowing mobile “food pod” events on a limited basis.

Barring any setbacks, Bites Off Broadway will be the first pod to launch under the new policy.

According to Hester, the main holdup — and the biggest frustration — has simply been waiting for the necessary permit from the city to come through. It’s a process that’s taken over two months since she put in the initial application, and the fact of the matter is she still doesn’t have a permit. Still, based on conversations she’s had with city officials, Hester feels confident she’ll be ready to launch next week as planned.

“It is what it is,” she said. “And it’ll be great when it starts. It’s like having a child — you forget all the pain and the agony that it took to get there.”

If all goes according to plan, Bites Off Broadway will relaunch next Friday with an initial lineup of six trucks: Tina Tamale, Doc's of the Bay, Nick's Breakfast Truck, Conklin's Catering, Go Streatery, and Annakoot Indian Street Food Truck.

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The event will run from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. In addition to snagging some street eats, pod visitors will also have a chance to play lawn games and do some hula hooping. Hester says future Fridays will feature live music, family-friendly movies, and other entertainment. It’s lawn seating, so bringing lawn chairs and a blanket is advised.

Meanwhile, Hester said she has knowledge of five other prospective mobile food pods that, like hers, are awaiting permits. The organizers of those pods are waiting for their permits come through before formally announcing the times and locations of those events. Nevertheless, it sounds like Oakland street food aficionados are about to get a lot more options, spread across several different days of the week.

Bites Off Broadway: Its about building the community.
  • Bites Off Broadway: "It's about building the community."
Eventually, Hester says, there will be a “one-stop website” where all of the information about these various mobile food events will be consolidated. And the expectation is that Oakland will revisit the topic of mobile food, hopefully in September, at which point the City Council will try to nail down a permanent policy.

For now, Hester’s just excited about the return of Bites Off Broadway.

“It’s about building the community as much as it is about eating some great street food,” she concluded.

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