OrderUp is in talks to begin delivering for Baltimore food trucks parked at the Hollywood Diner Backlot, the city's new food truck park.
Damian Bohager, founder of the Gathering Project, opened the food truck park earlier this month at the Hollywood Diner Backlot, featured in the 1982 film "Diner," at 400 E. Saratoga St. The site has become a lunchtime hotspot for a handful of food trucks whose patrons can eat inside the diner, and it could soon become a launchpad for those trucks to extend their reach beyond their parking spots.
OrderUp, the Baltimore-based company that provides delivery for restaurants, is negotiating with Bohager and the food truck operators that frequent the diner to begin delivering for those trucks.
The food available will vary based on the trucks parked at the diner each day, as well as which trucks sign on with OrderUp. Matt Alexander, OrderUp's general manager for Baltimore, declined to comment for this story because the deals are still being finalized.
Bohager often pairs a veteran Baltimore food truck with one of the newcomers each day at the park. Some of the regulars include Gypsy Queen Cafe, Kommie Pig, GrrChe and Dizzy Cow Pizzeria.
OrderUp delivery is one addition that will give food truck business a lift during the typically slow winter season, when some trucks put their entire operations on hold until the spring. By that time, Bohager is hoping to shape the park into more of a destination, incorporating elements like landscaping, games, picnic tables, a kids' zone and stage.
He launched a Kickstarter campaign Nov. 4 aiming to raise $50,000 for the project, but as of Nov. 20 the fundraiser had generated just $3,230. The campaign closes Dec. 4, and Bohager plans to ramp up marketing efforts around the drive in the next few days.
The diner's property backs up to the site of the Baltimore Farmers' Market & Bazaar beneath the Jones Falls Expressway, and Bohager said he hopes food trucks at the diner will partner with the market for the 2016 season.
Since the park opened, Bohager has been offering a brunch bar on Sundays for farmers' market patrons, but no trucks have parked there during market hours. Next year, the park will have three or four trucks open in tandem with the market, which Bohager says will add to the market rather than create competition. The trucks will even source ingredients from the farmers at the market.
"It'll be farm-to-truck instead of farm-to-table," Bohager said.
In the mean time, the diner will provide a cold weather haven for food truck lovers.
"If it's raining, cold, too hot – that's what this is all about," he said.
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Bohager said he's already seen success there in the weeks the park has been open. Originally the diner was open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, but he's started opening at about 7 a.m. with a coffee truck to catch early morning customers.