Hitting the streets: Food trucks serving community on Friday nights in downtown Seymour

Food trucks are all the rage in big cities where they set up in busy downtown areas and other public gathering places to feed crowds of people.

But two local businesses are finding out the concept can work in small-town Seymour too.

Dennis Schwein with Flying Pink Pig BBQ and Armando Torres with Nacho Momma’s Burritos have started Food Truck Fridays, giving people another reason to look forward to the end of the work week.

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The two food trucks recently received approval from the Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety to operate temporarily in the city-owned Walnut Street parking lot through the month of April. That likely will be extended through October, however, after city council has time to develop an ordinance and fees for itinerant merchants.

In the meantime, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, the two food trucks can be found parked in the lot where the Seymour Area Farmers Market is, serving up a changing menu of mouth-watering offerings. Customers can dine on barbecue pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, brisket and ribs or tacos, burritos, nachos and chicken bowls.

By word of mouth and advertising on social media, Food Truck Fridays are attracting more and more people since starting last month and the two vendors hope it leads to something bigger like a food truck festival with more trucks, picnic tables for people to stay and eat and live music.

The location is visible from U.S. 50 and is close to Schneck Medical Center and the downtown, which could help pull in more business.

Before building his food truck from scratch, which took him about a year and a half, Schwein and his wife, Rhonda, operated the Flying Pink Pig as a dine-in and carry out business at 751 W. Second St.

After 4½ years, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find and keep good help, he said, and with the demands of the catering side of the business, it wasn’t easy to be open regular hours. So they decided to close the restaurant.

The food truck gives the Schweins some options and flexibility to continue serving the public but to do so in a more mobile way that allows them to travel for catering jobs too.

It also takes away the expenses of having a storefront.

“I think it’s where things are heading for retail, more mobile,” he said. “In the future, I think you are going to find other types of trucks, not just food.”

So far, Food Truck Fridays have gone “exceptionally well,” he added.

“We did more on a Friday night with the truck than I would do in four hours at the storefront, because we were off the beaten path and people couldn’t see us,” he said. “People think it’s a unique experience to get food from a truck.”

On some nights, he’s even sold out of items.

Schwein has big plans for the truck, including installing a television on the outside so customers can watch sports games while they wait for their food.

“I’m also going to have some tables and a canopy that goes around it so the whole truck is shielded from the weather,” he said.

The only thing missing from Food Truck Fridays is a dessert truck offering ice cream or other sweet treats, he added.

Torres and his wife, Beth, started Nacho Momma’s Burritos in June 2016.

“We started serving breakfast burritos to one of the factories in Freeman Field and it has steadily been growing,” Armando Torres said.

On Saturday mornings, they started parking their truck in front of Mi Casa Mexican restaurant at 101 S. Broadway St., which is owned by Torres’ sister, Connie Hernandez and her husband, Martin.

“One of the main reasons we started the food truck was because the opportunity presented itself through a variety of ways,” Armando Torres said.

The Torreses felt there was a niche in the market they could capture and being able to partner with Mi Casa made it easier.

They were able to purchase a truck within their budget and have grown a loyal fan base of local customers, some that follow them no matter where they go.

Nacho Momma’s Burritos sets up at local events, including the Seymour Area Farmers Market and at the Seymour Library and other locations and the Torreses look forward to continuing to set up for Food Truck Fridays.

“It has definitely been a ground-breaking endeavor,” he said. “There have been many challenges, but it has been a great adventure and we are loving it.”

The two food truck vendors also are working together to bring more food options to some of the factories in the area during the week that don’t have in-house cafeterias.

Heather Chase of Seymour said she and her family stopped last Friday at the food trucks.

“Despite the cool air, there were lines at both trucks,” she said. “I think it’s a great concept and more people should get out and try it.”

Bob Beatty of Seymour said it’s another way to support local businesses and bring the community together.

“It helps foster a community spirit by having another gathering spot downtown,” he said. “It’s something to build on.”

Andi Bukowski of Seymour said she loves the idea of being able to pick up something after work for supper at a food truck. She would like to see a variety of trucks giving the public different options.

“I’d like to see a truck that serves food that isn’t easy to get at other places in Seymour, like gyros or gumbo or curries,” she said. “Of course a hot dog truck would always be nice too.”

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What: Food Truck Fridays featuring Flying Pink Pig BBQ and Nacho Momma’s Burritos

Where: Walnut Street Parking Lot in Seymour

When: 5 to 8 p.m. every Friday