(KALB) - If you had to guess how many food trucks there are in Cenla, what would your answer be? That number may surprise you, especially as it continues growing.
News Channel 5’s Rachael Penton and Ben Gauthier take a look at Cenla's food truck industry.
On any given day you'll probably spot at least one of Cenla's nearly three dozen food trucks parked somewhere around town. "We got jalapeno poppers, a sandwich that's like a pizza,” says Gourmet Grilled Cheese owner Eric Herrington. "It is the number one food truck in America, you know. And who doesn't love a grilled cheese?"
Herrington says the small overhead cost and freedom to park wherever he wants, whenever he wants has allowed him to open a successful side business.
"It takes a little while for things to catch on. Now things are catching on. People are figuring it out. Social media is the way we all communicate,” says Herrington.
Jim Deggy's monster of a food truck hit Cenla streets back in 2016. After making the festival rounds for several years the food truck's brand became popular enough for owner Paul Averett to open a brick and mortar store in Pineville this year.
"It was a little rocky in the very beginning until the word got out and we found our little niche,” says Averett. "We ended up finding out that the people who followed us around were the transplants here from other states and people who have been around the world and stuff like that."
Averett credits a younger generation on the move, looking for something unique with at least part of the food truck industry's success here.
"There are a lot of people, I would say probably this younger culture also, younger crowd that just likes to go to a food truck. They know that that's a specialized food product, and they know that that's going to be a really good food product,” says Averett.
Over on Main Street in Pineville there will soon be a gathering place for Cenla's food trucks and the community. Taylor Cottano and Tyler Craig are currently building the Main Street Truck Park, and say they were initially surprised to find out just how many trucks are in Cenla.
"This is the first food truck park in Central Louisiana so this is a brand new venture,” says Craig. "The food truck popularity is exploding around here."
"We're trying to partner with the city to bring life back to downtown and we know that it's going to be something pretty special,” says Cottano.
The park will provide a central location and commissary for established trucks, and a place for new ones to grow as Cenla's food truck industry continues blossoming.
"Louisiana has a rich culture, culinary culture so if I'm a young chef or an aspiring chef the food truck gives me the opportunity to showcase my culinary skills without having to open a brick and mortar,” he adds.
To find out more about Cenla’s food trucks and to find out where they’ll be parked visit the Cenla Food TrucksFacebook page.
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