How Spark Social solves the food truck problem

Spark Social entrance

Near the entrance to Spark Social food truck park in San Francisco

I’ve eaten at a lot of food trucks. Individual roach coaches, of course, but also renowned food truck gardens in Austin, at San Francisco’s Off the Grid and Sundays in the Presidio, and various food truck rodeos in New York’s Capital District. Sometimes the food is good, sometimes not, but the food truck experience brings with it an existential problem: since you’re ordering from a truck, you’re eating in a parking lot. At times there are clever seating solutions; more often or not you’re just standing in the sun with the sauce from your order dripping down your arm.

Spark Social aisle

Aisles are designed so rotating food truck vendors can easily move in and out

Spark Social, a new venue in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district, solves this problem by designing the space around the food trucks. It was built from scratch in a formerly desolate neighborhood which has been innovatively developed in recent years with the UC Mission Bay medical school and related hospitals as a hub. There are various seating areas including a hollowed out two-decker bus, a shed serving bargain beverages and lots of picnic style benches. A rotating assortment of about 20 food trucks roll in and out. All were doing great business at lunchtime and there’s also happy hour and dinner service. (For residents of the spanking new apartments in the area, there’s not a lot else going on in the evening.) There are also special events (like a family ice cream festival this Saturday August 19) and you can rent out one of the dining areas for birthday and other special events.

I’ve got business in the area over the next few days and predict I will be back, often. Spark Social is at the corner of 4th Street and Mission Bay North. The current food truck list and calendar of events can be found on their website.

This entry was posted in Eating, Something Else and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Spark Social solves the food truck problem

  1. Judith Cromwell says:

    I’ve never eaten from a food truck. Except the Mexican-inspired ones that have been around for decades. I’ve always wondered what I was missing.

    • Burnt My Fingers says:

      I think the Mexican-inspired trucks are the inspiration for realizing these rolling kitchens could do more than sell burgers or packaged food to a captive audience of workers on a construction site or in a remote area with no restaurants for lunch break.

      My meal at the Odd Duck in Austin (now morphed into a sit-down establishment) was one of the 50 best I’ve had in my life. But more often the food truck food is no better than I could get in a hash house, and the hipster audience ends up paying more and getting less if you count the ambience.

      My meal at Spark Social the other day was a perfectly good Philly cheese steak, and I have my eyes on a pups for the next visit. The prices were not cheap, but fair, and the ambience this time is a huge plus. It’s a concept that works.

Comments are closed.