When gourmet food trucks started popping up a few years ago on the Fort Worth dining scene, a few of us were skeptical: Could a trend birthed in such hipster cities as Austin, Los Angeles and Portland really catch on in a meat-and-potatoes city like ours?
These days, I find myself eating my words – as well as whatever new offerings are being served up on four wheels. Fort Worth now hosts dozens of food trucks, and four parks devoted to these trucks.
Opened in 2011, The Fort Worth Food Park, located off White Settlement Road, was the first of these parks and continues to draw impressive crowds. Last summer, Cowtown Chow Down opened near the Stockyards. More recently, the Clearfork Food Park started operation; it offers an inviting respite along the Trinity River for those looking to take a meal break from biking or running.
And on May 1, Food Park at Thistle Hill opened its gates. The park, located on the grounds of the historic Thistle Hill mansion, plans to host four trucks each weekday. The trucks will rotate regularly, providing a multiplicity of new dining options to a mostly under-serviced culinary corner of the Fort Worth Hospital District. The outdoor setting is so lovely -- the Georgian Revival-style Thistle Hill was built in 1903 -- that the terrific food almost seems like a gilding of the lily.
On the day we visited, the trucks on site included First Bite Gourmet and the Latin-themed What’s Cook-N-Chef, though we opted for Salsa Limon – one of the very first food trucks to arrive on the Fort Worth scene in 2010.
The barbacoa taco was rich and smoky, and the veggie taco made for an appealing lighter option. We topped both with Salsa Limon’s fiery red salsa -- not something recommended for spice amateurs, but for everyone else essential. Along with a couple of bottles of water, the bill for two came to just $12. For dessert, we wandered over to another truck on the property that day, Red Jett Sweets, and split the Nuts for Kentucky ($3) a bourbon cake cupcake topped with caramel butter cream and candied pecans. If – like us -- you have a weak spot for all things sugary, this is the one to try.
Texas weather being as unpredictable as it is, temperatures were at record lows when we visited – and the modest lunchtime crowd was all huddled inside the Thistle Hill carriage house, where inclement weather seating is available. Once the weather warms up, though, this newest addition to the food truck scene seems like a sure-fire hit. Indeed, the only problem with all these meals-on-wheels, is that there aren’t enough meals in the day to eat them all.
Food Park at Thistle Hill is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check the Website to see which food trucks are there each day.