Food trucks head way beyond the big cities

  • Updated: August 23, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Arlo and Amanda Eastvold ordered from Anna Peterson, of A La Plancha, at a recent Food Truck Tuesday in Northfield. This is Peterson’s second time serving food at the new weekly event. “I love it,” she said.

Photo: Photos by Liz Rolfsmeier • Special to the Star Tribune,

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Food truck meals have become standard fare at taprooms, farmers markets, and with the lunch crowds downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul.

But this summer, they are making more forays into communities further out, including those in Dakota County.

This summer, a church in Northfield launched Food Truck Tuesdays. Mendota Heights is looking at changing its city code to accommodate food trucks. And this year Eagan sees its first ever food truck festival, an event with two bands and 20 trucks.

Marty Richie of Lakeville started Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill in 2012 and went full-time with the operation last year with his partner, Lisa Caulfield.

He prefers setting up shop in the south metro as much as possible. It’s close to home, and he doesn’t have to deal with the fierce competition for the few downtown spots, a situation he calls (and likens to) “The Hunger Games.”

“I wanted to stay away from Marquette as much as I could,” he said.

Burnsville recently reached out to him — he’s on the board of the Minnesota Food Truck Association — and asked how that city could be more food truck friendly, he said, and he helped draw up an ordinance.

In general, Dakota County communities have been receptive to food trucks. “Eagan has just opened up their doors,” he said. “Lakeville has been easy to work with.”

Richie, a former account executive who suffered a devastating job loss during the recession, said his job “beats working for The Man.”

He keeps a small plush toy on the dashboard — reminder of a conventional job-finding website — as “a reminder of where I’m not going to go.”

He doesn’t see food trucks going away any time soon. “It’s a revolution,” he said.

Here are a few new food truck events in Dakota County:

Food Truck Tuesdays, Northfield

The First United Church of Christ in Northfield was looking for ways for the church to connect with the community.

Matt Eastvold, a member of the congregation, pitched an idea: Food Truck Tuesdays.

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  • Clara, 10, and Ruth, 6, Lippert enjoyed sliders from A La Plancha at a recent Food Truck Tuesday in Northfield. Photo by Liz Rolfsmeier, Special to the Star Tribune

  • Marty Richie, of Lakeville, manned the grill on Motley Crews Heavy Metal Grill food truck. Business has been good, and he’s currently looking to expand by opening a brick and mortar location somewhere in the south metro.

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