City to Launch Food Truck Program

food truck festival

The City of Cambridge is accepting applications for a pilot program that will bring food trucks to Central Square, Cambridgeport, Kendall Square, and North Point Park next year.

The move comes after numerous residents told city officials that they’d like to see food trucks, according to Lisa Hemmerle, director of economic development for the Community Development Department.

Only three food trucks currently operate on public city land—any other trucks in the area are on private property like college campuses.

“The Food Truck Pilot aligns with the City’s goal to support local businesses,” Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development, said in a statement. “Food trucks allow restaurant entrepreneurs to test branding, menu ideas, and business concepts before making larger-scale investments.”

The trucks will be open from April 2018 to October 2018.

The city is prioritizing applications from businesses that are owned by women, minorities, or Cambridge residents, that are under two years old, and that don’t have a brick-and-mortar location.

If several businesses apply for the same shift, the city will roll out a People’s Choice Poll in January 2018 where residents can vote on which trucks they’d most like to see.

The Community Development Department says it will make sure that “at any given location and for any given shift the three trucks scheduled represent a diverse range of menu offerings, price points, and longevity of food truck businesses (new vs. established businesses).”

The city is taking care to protect local brick-and-mortar restaurants. The pilot organizers will not put trucks in locations where their offerings would be in direct competition with existing restaurants’ menus.

“It’s very important to us to ensure the continuity of our brick-and-mortar businesses,” Hemmerle says. “The Community Development Department’s economic development division conducted extensive outreach to our neighboring restaurants and businesses. We’re going to take a look at this over time.”

Vendor applications are open through Nov. 30 and the food truck lineup will be announced in March 2018.