In an area once largely devoid of food trucks, northwest Harris County
residents have begun to see an increase in mobile dining options over the past few months. A new venue could soon bring even more mobile dining to the region.
Bernie’s Backyard, a food truck park and entertainment venue, is slated to open this summer at 22314 I-45 near Old Town Spring. The venue will offer live music, craft beer, a kid-friendly dessert shop and multiple food truck vendors.
C. Evans, a park official with Bernie’s Backyard, said the venue will bring a much-needed entertainment option to the Spring area.
“[The founders of Bernie’s Backyard] are all foodies,” Evans said. “We like the food truck experience, [and] we find it’s unique. I don’t believe there’s anything like [this] in the area. I hope Houston’s ready for us—the food truck scene is growing.”
The lot contains eight spaces for food trucks as well as gas, water and electricity connections. Evans said mobile eatery owners will be able to rent spaces much like they would at a parking lot or other private property. The food trucks at the venue will feature various cuisines, including Greek and Italian as well as burgers, barbecue dishes, chicken tenders and a french fry truck.
“There’s food [options] for the whole family, and usually that’s the hardest thing for my family to decide is where we’re going to go out to eat,” Evans said. “We all come up with different things. [Venues like this] have to have something for [the kids], and something for me and my wife.”
A growing trend
Popular semipermanent eateries in the area, such as Sindy’s Tacos and The Black Garlic, operate by obtaining six-month permits, undergoing inspections from Harris County and leasing space from landowners.
To obtain permits, all food trucks must pass inspections to demonstrate the vehicles meet food safety, water and electric standards.
In addition, written and notarized permission to operate on private property must be on display for customers, according to the Harris County Public Health and Environment Services website.
“I don’t believe there’s anything like [Bernie’s Backyard] in the area. I hope Houston’s ready for us—the food truck scene
—C. Evans, Bernie’s Backyard park official
Myeshi Briley, president of the Spring/Klein Chamber of Commerce, said the food truck park could be a welcome addition to the Spring community.
“Food trucks are the new thing, and if it’s going to be a nice thing where people can try different foods from different vendors, [that] works very well in Houston,” Briley said. “I think the food truck industry has changed. ... If it’s done like downtown [Houston] with an upscale feel, it’s probably going to do very, very well.”
She said food trucks could be a more affordable option to restaurants for other food service businesses.
“It gives those guys the opportunity who can’t really afford the brick and mortar [location], and if [these businesses] do the catering, they can be mobile,” Briley said. “It gives them the best of both worlds.”
Opposition in Tomball
During an April 20 meeting, Tomball City Council discussed passing an amendment to the city ordinance that could prevent semipermanent food trucks or trailers from obtaining or renewing permits in city limits. The ordinance could also limit the amount of time a mobile truck could stay in one site.
“The easiest way to [solve the issue] is to say, ‘You’ve got one six-month permit and that’s it,’” Tomball Mayor Gretchen Fagan said during the April 20 meeting. “It would be a lot easier [for city officials] to say we won’t issue a second permit.”
Council members will discuss and could take action on the issue in May.