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City Seeing Success with Downtown Tuesdays and Food Trucks

kai kamaka
Ryan Loyd
Texas Public Radio

On this late summer evening in Travis Park, people are spending more time and more money at the mobile food trucks camped out. Kai Kamaka strums a ukulele while the trucks offer up their specials.

“We love to do this kind of stuff all the time and bringing entertainment to anywhere gathers people together," said Kamaka. "When you get entertainment and food, makes it a great party.”

Several months ago, the city revised when and where food trucks would go for its pilot program that lasts until the end of October.

“We got invited out here," said Alez Pamplin, owner of Society Bakery. "We like to come downtown for lunches - Travis Park, Westin, Main Plaza - and they asked to come down here in the evenings so we thought we’d check it out, see how it is.”

If it’s cupcakes you want, Society Bakery has them and Pamplin said that so far it's been profitable.

"We like it here in San Antonio,” said Pamplin.

cheesy janes
Credit Ryan Loyd / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Travis Park welcomes residents and food truck vendors like Cheesy Jane's on Tuesdays and Fridays as part of an overall plan to help strengthen the downtown area, while providing food trucks a chance to test a pilot program

Setting up at places like Travis Park, the Weston Center and Main Plaza help attract watering mouths like Imelda Arevalo and her family.

“I had the crawfish etouffee," said Arevalo. "It was really delicious.”

“It’s nice," said Laurie Barnes. "It’s a nice amenity to be able to enjoy the food trucks.”

Barnes said it’s a great way to get some gourmet food and a diverse experience for her family. So to help encourage families like Barnes' to come out and try something new, San Antonio’s Downtown Tuesdays, which does not have an end date set, helps encourage people to go out at least one day during the week.

City officials report parking for free at city-owned garages and parking meters is up 24.7 percent over last year, and more than 70 businesses offer specials to attract people and their wallets. Programs like free live jazz at Travis Park and the upcoming “Rock the San Antonio Children’s Museum” are on the calendar to attract visitors.

The city is hoping to make downtown a renewed center of activity like it once was, but it’s still a work in progress. These revitalization efforts are part of an overall strategy to reinvigorate the heart of the city.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.