Stockton’s mobile cuisine movement


By Victoria Pinasco

Providing quick and convenient food to locals, Stockton’s food trucks are on the rise and are attracting business more than ever each day.

Many in Stockton have regular customers along with first timers that keep businesses successful and running. Each not only has its own menu, but provides culture.

Korean, Cuban, Mexican, American and African cultures are only a few of the different types of cuisine you can find rolling around Stockton.

Customers of food trucks appreciate the quality and effort put into each meal. The tacos are traditional, the burgers are loaded with goods and the Asian noodles are steaming with spices.

“The restaurants don’t do it like the trucks do, they don’t even try,” said customer Martin Taylor.

Each truck has specialty meals.

Grubb City cooks a mixture of Mexican, American and Pacific Islander food that serves a burger famous across Stockton, the OMG Burger. The OMG Burger is a sweet BBQ beef patty, filled with salami and cream cheese, topped with grilled onions, Monterey Jack cheese and served on a soft roll.

One would think that there would be competition between the trucks around Stockton, but due to the particular style of food each truck provides, there is no competition, more of a concoction of tasty food.

“Everybody has different food and their own style of food. So there is no stepping on toes of any sort,” said Alfonso Jaramillo, owner of Grubb City.

Stockton is progressing in the food truck trend with multiple trucks parked on almost every main street, it is easy to find a quick meal.

Troyce Fraga started The Cupcake Lady truck with her husband, Steve, four years ago and has sold more than 1,000,000 cupcakes since.

“Cupcakes are in! So we took two emerging trends, cupcakes and food trucks, and made a business out of it. If you have a unique product, and you can put it in a truck and sell it, you can make money,” said Steve Fraga, owner of The Cupcake Lady.

Along with fresh and appetizing food, location is key to run a successful food truck. Some trucks like Flavors of Korea and Tacos Guadalajara park at the same location every operating day.  The Cupcake Lady truck travels to a different location each day and alerts customers via Facebook.

“A lot of times, businesses invite us to come park in their private parking lot. They like the idea of having a big pink truck near their business. About three fourths of our locations are by invitation,” said Fraga.

Tacos Guadalajara #5 parks at the same spot every day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. near a self storage off Trinity Parkway.

Not all of the trucks are as lucky. Grubb City and Flavors of Korea deal with anonymous business complaining to the city that the trucks are “in the way.” Although the trucks are not on private property, and are following the Stockton Municipal Code, owners said they’ve been asked to leave on occasion.

According to the Stockton Municipal Code, section 5.72.060, in a commerical use area, a motorized food wagon shall move not less than 400-feet at least every three hours and may not return to a previous location or within 400 feet of a previous location on the same calendar day.

One owner said he felt like the trucks are “immigrants” of Stockton’s businesses.

“Some neighborhoods accept us, some don’t,” said Jaramillo.

Three hours to them is nowhere near enough time to run a successful business, when restaurants are allowed to stay at their location twenty four hours a day, seven days a week because they are not “mobile.”

“Just because we have wheels, they think they can move us wherever they want. This is our only hope, out here on the street,” said Jaramillo.