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Houston Food Park Opens Second Location, Third Park in the Works

Popular food truck destination expands into the heart of Downtown.

Houston Food Park's second location.
Houston Food Park's second location.
Houston Food Park/Facebook

While My Food Park HTX, Mangum Food Park and other stationary setups for mobile kitchens appear to have gone by the wayside, Houston Food Park continues to grow in popularity and size.

After a sneak peak during the Thanksgiving holiday, a grand opening celebration for the food park's second location was held over the weekend at 1311 Leeland formerly known as Phul Court, the first attempt of a mainstream food truck park in Houston. Owners Tirzo Ponce and Miguel Villegas made the expansion announcement in November, joining forces with the owners of the defunct bar and food park on Leeland to offer Downtown workers dining alternatives.

Last year, Ponce and Villegas transformed the former Meridian Club on St. Emanuel into a haven for food trucks to congregate in a single venue and no admission fee for customers. A concept not so uncommon in other major cities, was foreign in the country's fourth largest city due to restrictions. There were hurdles from the beginning but Ponce praises East Downtown (EaDo) as being the only place to accommodate trucks with open arms when many neighborhoods wouldn't. With the second location comes its own set of unique hurdles that includes parking. Ponce admits that Downtown can be challenging with metered parking, inflated prices at nearby parking lots during special events, but is working on a possible solution with the owners of the park.

The pros of the the new location far outweighs the cons according to Ponce, "the new park allows us to cater to the Downtown lunch crowd and offer more trucks." This summer's regulations ease for food trucks Downtown was an added bonus, but Ponce likes that the new venue allows electrical food trucks a space to plug in. He's also looking forward to the crowds from Discovery Green, House of Blues and Toyota Center, all within walking distance of the new park, and the launch of the park's delivery service in January.

As for the EaDo location, it's not going anywhere. "I'm not going to turn my back on EaDo who supported us 100%," said Ponce when asked about the future of the St. Emanuel location. "Neighborhoods gave us flack when we were searching for a space. We owe it to EaDo to stay, it's considered home." While the original location remains, plans to expand more are on going. When asked about a Facebook post made earlier this year on opening a location in West Houston, Ponce said those plans are still in place. He's secured a location but is waiting on the build-out process.

Ponce has big plans for his parks and outside of the city's limits into New York. The food park owner revealed plans to host a food truck exchange program with New York City and Los Angeles. Each city will host five trucks, giving residents a chance to try food trucks that have received major press and according to Ponce, "put Houston on the map." Houston has gotten its fair share of press when it comes to restaurants, bars, the people behind the scenes and even food trucks, but if this means showcasing even more of the city's best food trucks, bring it on.