KC area food truck operators crave a comeback from first Fridays

KANSAS CITY, Mo – The First Friday of the Crossroads Arts District will bring a new element to the experience this year with a designated food truck seat.

Visitors can stop at 1907 Grand Boulevard to try a variety of international cuisines while walking the streets, enjoying art. And many of these small business owners are eager to bounce back from a year of dwindling opportunities.

“Everything closed in mid-March. We didn’t know what to do ”, Tomas Andersson, co-owner of Ying’s Thai cuisine, mentionned. “We sat on our hands for a few months and tried to figure it out.”

Ying and Tomas Andersson have turned their passion into a full-time business since opening their trunk in 2019. Ying Andersson wanted to share her love for cooking and her Thai culture in an environment where she felt comfortable with her. English.

“I want them to eat my food, and I want them to like it like me,” she said.

Little by little, they built their business. But in an industry that relies heavily on foot traffic, losing a cash generator like First Friday has hit hard. Since the pandemic, their only stable sources of income have been breakfasts and dinners at the Homeowners Association.

“It’s just nice to have a cornerstone every month,” said Tomas Andersson. “You know that you are going to have great visibility, meet new clients, you are going to feed a lot of people and hopefully make a lot of money.”

It is a feeling that the staff of Twisted Taters understand too well. Partners Tony Floro and Lori Lee quit their jobs and capitalized on loaded fries three years ago.

“Pulled pork over fries, steak with Philly cheese, Greek sandwich over fries, cheeseburger over fries or the Idaho that’s on the side of the truck over there,” Floro said of their menu.

Like many other food trucks, Floro said, they’ve also taken the brunt of the shutdown. Without a back-up plan, they rallied around a few other food trucks and toured neighboring neighborhoods for dinner.

“It was scary,” Lee said. “Our calendar was pretty full of big events, and we were just getting emails after phone calls after emails saying, ‘We’re done, no, no…’ and we kind of looked at each other and panicked. “

The two are excited to return to First Friday, where the community has felt more like family in recent years.

“First Fridays did this,” Floro said. “It brought the trucks together where people can come and try a variety of different dishes and trucks and have a good time. “

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