TRAVERSE CITY — The Little Fleet should consider a name change as they steam toward their second summer in business.
Maybe The Armada is more apropos.
The Front Street bar and food truck collective continues to ride a wave of mobile-meal enthusiasm that began last May, shortly after Traverse City commissioners approved an ordinance that made owning and operating food trucks and trailers easier. It’s a wave that continues to gain momentum.
Gary Jonas, who owns The Little Fleet with his wife, Allison, announced the new season’s food truck lineup this week. The roster features a melange of food from around the world — from brunch to desert — and will challenge the Front Street bar’s parking capacity.
“We really didn’t have a whole season under us last year,” Jonas said. “By the end of the summer we had five food trucks. We’re squeezing eight trucks in our lot this year. If I had my way, I would have a lot double our size to fit everyone.”
A handful of food truck fans wandered onto the snowy lot Tuesday morning while Michael Peterson, owner of the food trailer Anchor Station, prepared his kitchen on wheels for his season opener today.
”I think the food truck thing is taking over a lot of towns,” said Peterson, who, with his wife Rebecca, owns the restaurant Siren Hall in Elk Rapids and Lulu’s Bistro in Bellaire.
Some of the most recognized food towns in the U.S. embraced food trucks for years. Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York all have thriving food truck scenes.
Peterson turned away a few hungry onlookers who said they’ve waited all winter for the fleet’s return.
Jonas said he had about 15 vendors interested in parking on his lot for the upcoming season. That’s a serious expansion, considering only one food truck operated in Traverse City before last spring.