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Line-Up; It's Time for Lunch at Your Favorite Food Truck!

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Twisted Tails food truck

It's almost summer time and as the temperatures rise we all think about eating outdoors and enjoying the scenery. What better way to experience a variety of cuisine than visiting one of the many local food trucks.

Kalamazoo has seen the popularity of the food truck business continue to climb since 2012.

Kalamazoo loves food trucks, said Jeff Chamberlain, Kalamazoo Deputy City Manager.

The demand for the food truck business varies from city to city, but the phenomenon continues to grow nationally resulting in an estimated three million trucks that roam the streets of the United States.

A 2014 study from the University of Michigan and Northwestern University noted that food trucks connect with and grow their customer base through social media. For example, many use Twitter to share information about their menus and locations.

Along with John Schmitt, a Senior Business Consultant from the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Western Michigan University, and Noel Corwin, Chef and Proprietor of Gorilla Gourmet, Chamberlain-presented at the Building Michigan Communities Conference in Lansing in late April on the topic of "Food Truck Culture and its Role in Placemaking."

It was there they were able to share how Kalamazoo's ordinance for food trucks was established to address a variety of business concerns, yet encourage the food truck business to grow. They also spoke on what to consider if opening a food truck and how to differentiate and market such a business.

"We have tried to be as flexible as possible," said Chamberlain. "We continue to get more requests and have positive comments on the food truck program."

Evidence of growth in Kalamazoo's food truck industry can be found in Bronson Park when its Lunchtime Live series kicks off on June 12. The series is sponsored by the City of Kalamazoo and includes lunchtime parties surrounded by food trucks. There you'll find a variety of menus with an opportunity to satisfy lunch time hunger, listen to music, and do some shopping along with other activities through Sept. 11.

Sean Fletcher, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Kalamazoo is enthusiastic about the upcoming programs being planned including music, games, and tournaments for the local business employees to participate in that will accompany the food trucks.

Founder and President of Arcadia Brewing Company Tim Suprise also shared his thoughts on his company's food truck Twisted Tail, initially named after the metaphorical twist on menus filled with barbeque and smoked meats.

"We wanted to push the envelope a bit with the food truck food," Suprise said.

"Our food truck started in 2012 in Battle Creek and gave us the mobility to raise awareness and engage with the public," he said.

Twisted Tail's menu changes daily and they can be found at the Kalamazoo Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings, Bronson Park on Fridays throughout the summer, and other special events hosted downtown including Rib Fest and Irish Fest.

Suprise described the elements of a successful food truck as "quality food, creatively inspired, and served affordably with panache."

Since entering the food truck industry, Suprise has found that more quality trucks equal the rising demand and better sales result when gathered together.

Watch how our city continues to embrace the food truck trends and grows interest in local, homemade, and artisanal foods.

Don't forget to share with us what your favorite food truck in the city is and why below!

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