HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


"Food Truck Village" in SM

Well, it looks like the old vacant lot on 14th and SM Blvd. is going to turn, at least temporarily, into a dedicated "food truck village": http://twitpic.com/wlvhd

A good idea in theory, we'll see if it lasts. I'm planning on checking it out Tuesday.

(Picture and tipoff: Ardaniel)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Woo hoo! Thanks for the tip!

    1. 'kew', I drive by that corner every day,
      let's check out the goods....

      1. Thanks Das very informative..

        1. Last count, only three trucks had arrived (Fishlips and two unnamed others). Any detailed updates?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Moomin

            Not all the trucks will be there every day. It's more a dedicated, we-won't-chase-you-out location, at least for now. Check individual truck Twitter feeds for details.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              Whoever is organizing this should post schedules of which trucks will be there on a given day. It makes no sense to have to search through many individual twitter feeds for this info. There should be a centralized website. I mean, they have to know who will be there each day if to avoid overscheduling the lot.

              1. re: a_and_w

                Check out this website for the Event Calendar which shows the truck bookings for each day:


          2. I just heard a news report on radio 1070 on this food truck food court at Santa Monica and 14th. The newscaster reported that there are a lot of hungry customers in the area!
            What fun!!!

            1. I stopped by there today. There were 4 trucks there at noon. Border Grill, Fishlips,India Jones and Barbie'sQ. I had the Beef sandwich from Barbie'sQ and it is a good sanwich. It has a smoky flavor and The rolls had a good crunch to them. The plan is for different trucks to be there on different days. Just a safe place for them to park in the area without getting run off by te police and parking people. The lot is owned by Steve Taub, the car dealer, and he is a fan of the trucks.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chuck

                Thanks for the report. It's M-F, right? And parking onsite or street?

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      That lot could not be big enough for 4 trucks and parking for people eating there so it is going to be metered curb parking undoubtedly.

                      1. re: Servorg

                        I lived a block up from there for years. Good luck parking. 14th St. is permit-only from noon or 3 p.m. (check signs, it varies) on, and it's right near UCLA Medical Center so you are fighting for parking with visitors and patients.

                  1. really? you think a car dealer came up with this? months ago we contacted the broker of the lot where this is located. she inquired as to what our business plan was and we said to host food tucks. the broker even laughed at the idea. no doubt, she conveyed it to her client in the same vein but he, steve taub, a business man, no doubt saw the simple money making idea and stole it. the odds that the same idea manifested on the same lot is extremely doubtful. it is still the age where big $$ gets bigger by stepping on the little man. yeah, im bitter... but our name was way cooler...

                    1. this was just on the news today...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ns1

                        Yes, just today on radio 1070 I heard at least 4 reports.
                        They did mention that this is a 6-day/week event; I assume that means Monday thru Saturday. If anyone finds out otherwise, please post.

                        1. re: liu

                          It will be Mon - Sat, 11AM - 8PM

                      2. Stopped by today @ 6, 4 trucks were there and they were happy w/ today's turnout,
                        there IS parking for customers in the lot, there was also a news truck about to do a
                        live report. Good vibe, not very crowded. INDIA JONZE chicken Frankie ordered spicy
                        and a combo Lamb curry / Sag Veg curry w/ Ital Lemon Soda: total $11, NICE!

                        1. Had a pretty quick lunch on day one From the Fishlips Sushi truck. 'Spicy Set - Large' for a little over $8 and I was a happy camper. Local NBC 4 and ABC 7 news trucks were there as well.

                          1. Aaaaaaaaaaand, it's shut down. Permit issues. Hoboes sleeping in the lot. Trash issues.

                            "A lightdress fluttered; she was gone." (J. Joyce, "Finnegan's Wake")

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              Ya beat me to it DU! Got a tweet that the cops just shut it down due to zoning issues.

                              1. re: sel

                                What do wanna bet that it was a nearby restaurant that called the cops on this popular idea ???

                                1. re: JBC

                                  Not a chance. I bet it was the people who live in the adjacent building. Apparently there was trash EVERYWHERE this morning and hoboes sleeping in the lot, not to mention that the lot wasn't chained up and the parking was undoubtedly hellish despite preferential parking.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    Trash left over from the night before? I rode by at 3:10 AM this morning and the lot was completely clean. I will say that Santa Monica must be a little doubtful about allowing the trucks and people lined up in the lot while cars come and go from the lot. After all, if the SM government learned anything from that horrific scene at their farmers market it's that cars and groups of people all lined up don't mix very well.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      A friend walked by this morning on the way to the bus and the trashbins were full to overflowing.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        I can't say what happened after I went by, but that lot was immaculate at 3:10, without a spec of trash anywhere. I was looking pretty carefully because I was trying to gauge how much room there would be for trucks plus people and cars at the same time.

                                        I have the feeling that the implication of mixing cars and pedestrians in the same small area would give the SM city council and police department nightmares.

                                    1. re: JBC

                                      Well that's what happened on the 'Miracle Mile' stretch of Wilshire Blvd. AND at the downtown L.A. Artwalk to the new trucks. Probably elsewhere too. There is a long history of it happening to the traditional taco trucks. Typically mediocre brick and morter restaurants serving 'Sysco Slop' are seriously threatened by something new and different that happens to usually be pretty darned tasty and more reasonably priced. Personally I love the trucks, all of them. If the food is good - I'm there!

                                      1. re: sel

                                        According to the report I just heard, though the trucks have the proper licenses and permits, the LOT doesn't have the necessary (Santa Monica) permits to serve food. I think Steve Taub is gonna get his lawyers involved in order to get absolute clarification from the city (cuz it sounds like a crock).

                                        1. re: JazzBeau

                                          it is a zoning and land use issue.

                                2. It's amazing I went by at noon yesterday and there were no signs that their was anything at that location. They must have closed down and cleaned up fast.

                                  All I saw were 4 or 5 of what looked like car dealer staff walking into the office. Oh well we ended up at Tacos Por Favor, so all was not lost.

                                  1. there is a little Grinchy part of me that is ok with the lot being shut down because the whole idea of it irked me. to me, part of the appeal of the trucks is their mobility, as in, at some point, they will come to a place near me. not all cluster in one permanent area. because, then, that is a restaurant.

                                    i live in the Valley and work in Burbank, so SM is out of the question most days. and i am not traveling 25 miles to a food truck. they should come to us. or open a resto.

                                    Kogi is the only truck that really makes any effort to get to the Valley as it is.

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: Jelly71

                                      I was about to post something similar. This lot idea seems counter intuitive to me. To me a large appeal of food trucks, new or old, is the convenience. I get different food without having to go out of my way for it. If I have to get in a car and drive to get food, I might as well go to any other location. None of the food trucks I've tried so far has been better than a brick and mortar place. Not to mention that I'm not seeing any appreciable difference in price.

                                      If I'm getting in a car to drive to a truck, it better be a truck that makes something better than anything i can get in a brick and mortar place.

                                      1. re: Jase

                                        I think the idea is that you can go to a rotating set of restaurants all at once, like a kind of homeless mall food court.

                                        1. re: Jase

                                          Actually, I believe the main reasoning behind Food Trucks (and it started with Taco Trucks), is it is much cheaper than a B&M restaurant. Much lower startup costs, and lower operating costs. I think the mobility is just a bonus. Most Taco Trucks (again, the originators) have fixed locations (and times).

                                          The new "fad" trucks are just taking advantage of the new fad, twitter.

                                        2. re: Jelly71

                                          The truck park is small and would presumably feature a rotating group of trucks. This is certainly what happens by the Water Garden. That leaves every other day of the week for these trucks to serve people someplace else, which they routinely do. (I know because I check their twitter feeds on findlafoodtrucks.) The problem -- and I've personally witnessed this -- is that the parking cops harass these guys. They need sanctuary until the law can be changed, or they may not survive.

                                          Anyway, I think your post suggests you probably aren't the target audience for this particular truck scene. Just as it's unreasonable for them to expect you to drive 25 miles to them, it's also unrealistic for you to expect them to drive that distance to serve you.

                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                            i don't think it is unrealistic to expect a mobile food truck to drive to different parts of the city to serve potential customers. that's the whole point of them, isn't it?

                                            it would jut be nice if they realized that there are other places in the city besides Miracle Mile and the Brig.

                                            1. re: Jelly71

                                              They probably choose their locations based on demographic traffic. They are at Miracle Mile and The Brig (and other frequent locations), because there are high volumes of people there that are attracted to their product.

                                              1. re: mdpilam

                                                That's a great point, mdpilam. Also, in fairness, many trucks (Nom Nom, Calbi, South Philly, etc.) will be in Santa Monica during the day and Pasadena at night. So they cover a fair amount of ground.

                                                1. re: mdpilam

                                                  the first truck that realizes that Burbank at lunchtime is an untapped market is going to make a killing. the studios have tons of employees that are all just sick to death of the mediocre food choices around here.

                                                  1. re: Jelly71

                                                    You should e-mail them -- the twitter trucks are typically open to new locations.

                                                    1. re: Jelly71

                                                      There's one parked outside of WB, but not very busy.

                                                2. re: a_and_w

                                                  As to whether or not I'm the target audience I think is besides my point. My point is why would you go to the trouble of driving to them for a less tasty version of something you can drive to somewhere else.

                                                  I work near the Olympic/Sawtelle corner and along with the T-lofts, it's prime area for the trucks. There's usually two different ones every day of the week. I like some, don't like others. But it's a good change of pace from anything around me that I can't easily get. The cheesesteak one for example, I like and get regularly. But that's because it's convenient. If they weren't there, I wouldn't drive to go to them, I'd rather drive over to Philly's West if I'm getting into the car at all.

                                                  Doesn't mean there's a right or wrong in this situation. Just commenting that it seems counterintuitive to the whole notion of trucks being there for your convenience instead of you going to a brick and mortar place.

                                                  1. re: Jase

                                                    I'd personally rather get a cheese steak at South Philly Experience, which is better than most of the brick-and-mortar cheese steak places I've tried. And the banh mi at Nom Nom are better than any available on the westside (though that admittedly isn't saying much).

                                                    On that last note, the Nom Nom people are considering opening a brick-and-mortar location, as well.

                                                  2. re: a_and_w

                                                    Four trucks at the Water Garden again yesterday. Plenty of parking on Pennsylvania.

                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                      I went by the Water Garden about 1:45 today (the soonest I could get there) and the only one I saw was the cupcake truck, which just doesn't do it for me. :(

                                                      1. re: Bjartmarr

                                                        Did you go to Pennsylvania between 26th and Stewart? That's the main spot. Also on Stewart between Penn. and Colorado. In general they arent exactly "at" the Water Garden.

                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                          And also in the alley behind MTV.

                                                          1. re: Juji

                                                            I get the sense the alley behind MTV isn't being used as much anymore. I think the delivery guys may have raised a fuss about the blocked driveway.

                                                            PS: Looks like Let's Be Frank will be in that alley today, so what the heck do I know lol.

                                                        2. re: Bjartmarr

                                                          Shoot...sorry about that Bjartmarr! I'm surprised you didn't at least see Chef on Wheels. I guess one should check the twitter feeds on findlafoodtrucks before making a trip to the Water Garden. This does underscore one virtue of the Food Truck Village -- trucks can be scheduled so there's always someone serving.

                                                  3. Well, there's a defacto truck park developing on Pennsylvania and 26th by the Water Garden. Today there were three trucks: Nom Nom, Chef on Wheels, and Mattie's Southern Kitchen.

                                                    1. So does anyone know if Santa Monica is re-opened as yet?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                          No, but three of the frigging trucks were parked in the meter slots on SM at 14th a few hours ago.

                                                        2. FYI: India Jones will apparently be parked outside the lot today.

                                                          1. Barbie Qs was on SM right outside the lot yesterday.