Revised food truck rules open up new business and food choices in Nacogdoches

Updated: Jan. 24, 2018 at 6:09 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - More food trucks are rolling into Nacogdoches, thanks to an update in the city ordinance.

As operators set up shop, customers have more options to choose from at meal time. The updated rules are giving operators the confidence to pursue new business ventures.

Shali's Indian Kitchen rolls into a city parking lot off Main street, Nacogdoches. Early arrivals wait patiently.

"So good. They finally brought food trucks to Nacogdoches," Vicki Scott, a customer said with a laugh.

Owner Vaishali Ogale quickly sets up shop every day.

"That's today's menu," Ogale said.

Wednesday's menu featured chicken or veggie korma enhanced by all the traditional Indian spices.

"And then vegetable pakodas," Ogale said.

In East Texas, Ogale quickly refers to the fried veggies as "fritters."  It's one of many marketing techniques Ogale is learning in a very short time.

"I just used to cook for my family and my sister-in-law's kids, my kids, my brother's kid," Ogale said. "They were always saying, 'why don't you open up a restaurant and just get into this business."

"So here's our peach wood we dabble in," said Brendyn Todd, the owner of Brendyn's BBQ.

It's all in the smoke, Todd said. He quit a management job he loved at a successful fast-food chain to pursue his food truck venture. The confidence to take the leap of faith climbed when changes were made to the mobile vendor ordinance.

"They moved the one-hour rule, so the ordinance said I had to move my trailer every hour, regardless of whatever I was selling," Todd said.

It was pretty much a set up for failure.  The rule was disposed of, as was another prohibiting food trucks on public property. Customers anticipate good things to come.

"Loosening up the rules on that, I think we'll start seeing more and more variety in our selections in town," said David, a customer.

The marketing tool is social media. It works.

"They share, and that's how people find out," Ogale said.

"I had hundreds of shares," Todd said. "And if you look at Facebook, social media drives everything."

Competition increases for the pioneers of mobile food vendors in the area, but the industry reports the more trucks gathered in a spot, the better the business. Indian and BBQ may be the next paired food items.

Food truck vendors normally post their menus, hours of operation and locations on their Facebook pages. Click here for the link to the Facebook page for Shali's Indian Kitchen. Here is the link to the Facebook page for Brendyn's BBQ.

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