Nashville is a relative newcomer to the food truck craze.
As such, it is not surprising there is no private property in the city and on which operate multiple food trucks.
And that is why the proposal of local businessmen Steve Smith and Al Ross to have a permanent food truck park on a SoBro site they own — a lot that still might accommodate the business partners’ hope-for 24-hour diner depending on a looming Metro Board of Zoning Appeals hearing — has caught the attention of Nashville’s food truck community.
Dallas Shaw, president of the Nashville Food Truck Association, said Thursday following a press conference Smith and Ross held downtown (read more here ) that he is “intrigued” by the thought of such a facility.
“Other major cities have [private] parks for food trucks,” said Shaw, who owns and operates food truck Hoss’ Loaded Burgers. “But Nashville is a little different than those cities. We don’t have as much foot traffic on a daily basis.”
Shaw also wonders whether the terms of the leases Smith and Ross want — 12-month leases and up to $6,000 per-month rent — will be palatable to local food truck owners.
“I don’t know many truck owners that will feel they can afford $6,000 a month,” Shaw said, adding that such a rent payment during the winter months, when business would slow, could be difficult.
“That’s a lot of food to sell,” he added.
Smith, who owns Lower Broadway fixture Tootsie's as well as co-owns nearby Rippy's and Honky Tonk Central, said he could have heaters on the site, located at the southeast corner of the Third Avenue South and Demonbreun Street intersection, to address cold-weather concerns. He said the 12-month leases (instead of, say, monthly or three-month leases) would be used to facilitate stability on the site. As to the $6,000-per-month rent per space (he envisions up to 12 truck spaces on the small site), he noted research he has undertaken yielded the dollar figure.
“We know that is what we can generate,” he said.
Smith (pictured) said Nashville Electric Service is requiring the team to install an electrical vault on the site for the partially constructed Avenue Diner building (for which construction may or may not resume depending on the BZA meeting in early September).
“So electricity will be included in the rent [of the space],” he said.
Shaw said t