BiteClub, Food Trucks, Santa Rosa

Off The Grid Food Truck Fleet Heads to Santa Rosa

Off The Grid brings food trucks to Santa Rosa in May 2016, with gourmet food vendors, drinks and live entertainment at Coddingtown Mall.

Off the Grid comes to Santa Rosa with food trucks, food tents and other mobile gourmet food purveyors (courtesy photo)
Off the Grid comes to Santa Rosa with food trucks, food tents and other mobile gourmet food purveyors (courtesy photo)

Circle the wagons, the food trucks are coming!

SF’s wildly-popular Off the Grid street food round up — a conglomeration of food trucks, food tents, drink vendors and live music — is coming to Santa Rosa’s Coddingtown Mall beginning Sunday, May 22 and every Sunday thereafter from 11a.m. to 3p.m.

After successful OTG expansions throughout the Bay Area, the network of mobile food purveyors heads northward to Sonoma County, where we’ll have (at least to begin with) a rotating lineup of at least nine food trucks including Sonoma County’s own Q Craft BBQ, Caribbean Spices Haitian and Caribbean Cuisine and several others yet to be announced. You can see a full list of OTG trucks, carts and vendors in the Bay Area here.

Off the Grid comes to Santa Rosa with food trucks, food tents and other mobile gourmet food purveyors (courtesy photo)
Off the Grid comes to Santa Rosa with food trucks, food tents and other mobile gourmet food purveyors (courtesy photo)

Having been to events in Fort Mason, Marin and the Presidio, they’re fun, family-friendly get-togethers with great food and great music enclosed in a temporary square made by the parked food trucks. OTG operates more than 45 weekly public markets throughout the Bay Area, with the idea of bringing communities together through shared food experiences.

Bring some cash and a sense of adventure, as tables, napkins, forks and seats can sometimes be hard to come by. But that’s the fun of being off the grid, right?

Off the Grid joins the forthcoming Petaluma Block (another food truck and beer garden concept coming in August) in creating open spaces for food trucks and other mobile food vendors in Sonoma County. It’s welcome news after several years of struggles by local food trucks to find a foothold in Sonoma County after vocal brick and mortar restaurants and permitting issues created serious roadblocks for these entrepreneurial ventures.

More details coming soon, as the lineup of vendors is finalized.

Off the Grid Food Trucks in Santa Rosa: Sunday afternoons, beginning May 22, 2016 from 11a.m. to 3p.m. at the corner of Guerneville Road and Cleveland Avenue in Santa Rosa.

#santarosafoodtruck

Curious about Sonoma County’s current lineup of mobile food purveyors vending at farm markets and elsewhere? Here’s a (mostly complete) list…
Tuck Box Indian
Trader Jim’s
Guy and His Grill
El Roy’s
Croques and Toques
Fork
Tri Tip Trolley (now with two trolleys)
Got Balls
Drifter Pizza Company
Drumbs and Crumbs
Red Horse Pizza
Ultra Crepes
Palooza Gastropub
Foodie Farmhouse
Cochon Volant
Gerard’s Paella
Coming Soon
Fig Rig

Retired
Street Eatz
Awful Falafel
Seed On The Go

Trucks I’ve Heard About, But Can’t Confirm
Eatin Street

Napa Trucks
Cousins Maine Lobster

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Comments

44 thoughts on “Off The Grid Food Truck Fleet Heads to Santa Rosa

  1. A couple summers ago, the food trucks used to be at Springlake regional park on Tuesday evenings . It was a great idea! Not sure what happened and why they discontinued. Bummer.

  2. The wife and I recently visited Portlands food pod and truck scene with mouth watering excitement and anticipation and to our delight we were not disappointed and as we say there on the curb salivating on our large portioned Thai sesame crack wings we asked one another ,why don’t we have something like this in Santa Rosa? Time after time we find ourselves traveling a good distance to get Filipino food or awesome pho houses outside our lame canned blah flavored food in this town that has no clue of what good food really is…..think people think and diversify your culinary experiences so all you paranoid restaurant owners who are so afraid that a mobile truck will take your business or should I say lack of …should go and try what it is your truly missing really good finger licking food ! When you have to wait an hour to get a helping of tasty crispy seasoned Asian fused cuisine it is so worth it rather than getting a vibrating call device to wait for an hour for Olive Garden aka vomit garden ? Get a clue people get out there and spend your hard earned money on the real deal ….

  3. Where is the information on how to perticipate in these events. .. who do we contact ? Who do we call ? Who is in charge ? A phone number or email would be great!

  4. The ONLY reason i’m traveling to Santa Rosa tomorrow is specifically for this event. (Hollyburg has banned food trucks). I might even stop into a local business while i’m down there.

    1. Hope you’re not as disappointed as we were with this “event”. What a joke! 6 (or so) vendors including the ever-present Willie Bird turkey legs. Caribbean Spices was the only one with potential and apparently others agreed. Line was a mile long. Note to the Q bbq folks: your tent is unattractive and uninviting. It was like an afterthought. No wafting smell of smoke or bbq. We’re there more than 2 items on the menu?
      The restaurants in Coddingtown were enjoying overflow crowds no doubt from other disappointed attendees.

      1. Lets hope it gets better with time…

        On the plus side, if it was as bad as you say, it helped local businesses

  5. Most react to our local real estate/ rental market with a “deal with it or leave” attitude. In the case of food trucks, I have to agree. Local eateries get stagnant, dull and charge an abrasive amount for food. No one is obligated to give anyone their business because “They were here first”. That sense of entitlement is nauseating. Grow or die, think outside the box, nothing stays the same. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better prepared they will be for the change that WILL occur. Food trucks should have been here ages ago and are still not at the level they should be. This Murica, we eat where we want to. I guess restaurants need to kick it up a notch and bring something to the table and leave the ego at the door. I’ll site on a curb with a reasonably priced, fun, delicious meal any day of the week over sitting down to an “ok” meal that hasn’t changed in the last 5 years and get shafted on the price. Put your “game face” on restaurateur’s, show us that you deserve our patronage! A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, unless they sucked at what they were doing in the first place.

  6. Just went to our first OTG experience at the Presidio yesterday. It was awesome! I can’t wait for this to come to Santa Rosa. I’m excited to see local trucks and while the ambiance at Coddingtown will never match the Presidio, Coddingtown needs this. That mall is maybe at half capacity right now and even with a major anchor like Target, doesn’t seem to be very busy at any time of the day. They need the potential foot traffic this event may provide. With the exception of one restaurant, the only food options at Coddingtown are mediocre (at best) chain restaurants. Personally, I avoid chain restaurants whenever possible because if I wanted to eat heated up microwave food, I could do that at home. Even being in a parking lot, it will be fun to get out with family and friends and try the different choices the food trucks/vendors are offering.

    1. That’s why us Santa Rosans like Coddingtown. Slow paced with few people. There too many other places to eat instead of a mall.

  7. I’ll bet the restaurants at Coddingtown are excited, don’t you think?. The local restaurants pay the taxes, rent, benefits, everything etc. to be there. They have a tremendous investment. These guys come for the peak time of day to skim off what they can get and their gone. I can see why the brick and mortar places dislike them. If you want variety in one spot…
    why not take these side shows to the Fairgrounds where they fit in and where there’s no other food interests in place to disturb. They can pay their share of the costs to do business to the Fairgrounds. The public can go to them in their own little spot. Then they’re not piggy backing on those that have greater commitment and investment to the area.

    1. So here’s another perspective. The majority of the restaurants at Coddingtown are not local. They create jobs, true, but they aren’t companies based in Sonoma County. The restaurants are BJ’s, Chipotle, Jack’s Urban Eats, Jamba Juice and Subway (and Whole Foods).

      I’d argue that local food trucks help local entrepreneurs who are often trying out a restaurant concept or small business that supports the local economy. There are also many food trucks that support under-represented groups trying to get a leg up with a truck and can’t afford a restaurant. I’m not sure I’d feel bad about a local guy like Q Craft BBQ having his truck on a Sunday afternoon from 11-3 (not exactly prime time) at Coddingtown going up against the busiest BJ’s in Northern California. BJ’s isn’t gonna suffer.

      Sea Noodle Bar is the only local restaurant at Coddingtown. I hope they take an opportunity to embrace the trucks and maybe even have their own stand there so people can try their food. personally, I think that collaboration and cooperation are the sign of a healthy community, and I look fondly on restaurants that encourage other entrepreneurs rather than fear them.

      It’s important to understand the nuances. In the past, some incredibly irrational ideas out about LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED trucks made Sonoma County look provincial and small-minded when it came to creating opportunities for new food businesses. I hope we don’t do that again.

      1. Because the ones you mentioned aren’t based in Sonoma County doesn’t mean they are less and deserve the hit and run competition?
        I doubt you realize what it takes to run your own restaurant and the investment involved. Competition is the name of the game, but hit and run food trucks or any other form of “hit and run” style, in an environment where they directly compete with those who have a greater investment and commitment is not fair competition.
        Why would Sea Noodle Bar or anyone else think your idea of collaboration and cooperation makes good business sense for their investment? They’ve focused on their style, not a food truck…for crying out loud… Now I’m even more convinced you have little understanding of why Sea Noodle or any other chose the location and environment they’re in.
        That’s why I recommend the trucks to find their own location, not already occupied by anyone else. They’re “piggy backing” on the business in the mall with NO investment in the mall. Unlike the restaurants you mentioned, who have a BIG investments, corporate or not.
        You get paid by the Press to do your columns right? How about if others have the right to do the same type of columns for the Press without any commitment or investment? Let’s just call it,.. “collaboration and cooperation and a sign of a healthy community” on your part!
        Let the trucks find their own turf to build their own destination, not on the backs of those who have made the long term investment.

    2. I personally own a brick and mortar restaurant and a food truck and think it’s a totally different experience. If I were planning on dining in a comfy seat in a restaurant with a cocktail. I would not opt to
      Sit on a curb off a truck instead. A food truck is a big investment as well and off the grid is not free to participate. It is more of a Sunday event and not a restaurant dining alternative . Please keep an open mind . Competition and variety and local start up business support is important and the negativity is not necessary. Sarah from fork truck and roadhouse.

      1. Sarah…Yes, food trucks are a different business. You should know, you have both. You also have a large enough lot to support some food trucks. How about your location?
        Compare that to Coddingtown or a similar locations, where tenants pay in their leases for the rights to the parking lots, for THEIR customers. How would you like to be in that situation with 19 competitors at your doorstep, not having paid equally for those rights?
        Commercial leases designate the types of businesses that are permitted and no competition clauses to protect those with considerable investment in the complex. Unless those businesses directly affected by the food trucks agree to them being there, it should not be allowed.
        I’m not in opposition to the concept. I believe in it! The location for this concept needs to be thought out for the benefit of all, not just those looking for an opportunity to set up their concept.
        Coddingtown is one of hundreds of major malls in the U.S. that is redesigning themselves to stay alive. They must figure this out for themselves. The truck organizers need to find their own area that doesn’t destroy other concepts that already have large investments to their own…corporate or not.

      2. Sarah your food is awesome. Screw uncle buck! He probably has a stock portfolio heavy with Monsanto and big pharmaceutical too. I remember going to your truck on one of your first days in business on the 116 and was so proud to see someone chasing their own unique dream. You told me about refurbishing the truck and how tough it was to get started. So much happier to give my hard earned money to someone like you. Bjs brewhouse? Might as well go to Applebees or red lobster. Thanks for all the great food and supporting local purveyors. See you soon!

  8. You would think people in this area are starving or have no other opportunities to buy this type of food. It’s interesting to see how easy it is to get people excited. Now I understand why Oprah is so popular.

    1. There are few opportunities in Sonoma County to find food entrepreneurs who are willing (or can afford) to take the kinds of chances on ethnic/fusion/unique food concepts that truck owners do. It’s a cheaper way to test out a concept for a brick and mortar restaurant or be able to take your show on the road to events, etc. There were a number of exceptional truck concepts that failed in Sonoma County due to slow uptake on regulations and perceived “competition” to brick and mortars that never existed.

      We’re seeing a second wave of trucks coming along as permitting gets easier, brick and mortars see that these events bring crowds and the economy has improved enough for food-trepreneurs to start taking chances again. I see this as a really positive sign that Sonoma County is being seen as less provincial and more food-forward — eager for trucks again.

      Oprah is popular because she’s a gazillionaire who helps people and is nice. Yeah, people tend to like that.

      1. “Food-trepeneurs start taking chances again???” Restaurant business in itself is a huge risk. Do you know anything about the business other that what you see on the plate or taste in your mouth?
        Please dear woman…Get some culinary and business education. Spend the time it takes. Train a staff in the front and back of the house to do everything the way you want it, down to every detail. Repeat yourself over and over to the staff daily, to keep them on track. Invest all you have into a location for your restaurant, work it for 5…10 years, 10 – 16 hours a day… be there! Do some great concepts that have the community’s attention and favor. Then after that, you might be qualified to offer some advice to restaurants on your culinary and restaurant/business experience.
        The food truck concept is great…no problem with it. Go to a place that you can call your own. Build your own destination where you’re not interfering with other restaurants.

        1. I’ll treat this subject like most reply to comments on our local real estate/ rental market; deal with it or leave. local eateries get stagnant, dull and charge an abrasive amount for food. No one is obligated to give anyone their business because “They were here first”. That sense of entitlement is nauseating. Grow or die, think outside the box, nothing stays the same. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better prepared they will be for the change that WILL occur. Food trucks should have been here ages ago and are still not at the level they should be. This Murica, we eat where we want to. I guess restaurants need to kick it up a notch and bring something to the table and leave the ego at the door.

  9. God, you have so many idiots to deal with! Coddingtown is the perfect place for this since their parking lot has more than enough room and they can use the straggler business.
    It’s amazing to me how many people have their heads in the sand about the awesome food trucks. Dinosaurs who think a food truck is that pile of crap they have NO problem buying their lunch from on a jobsite, or the dilapidated roach coach they got sick from thirty years ago. Pull your heads out of your butts!
    These guys are too sensitive for a little return on their smarmy comments. Then they bitch like you’ve been mean to them. Whiners.
    I’m looking forward to this! Great idea. With luck, the fools won’t show up and we’ll all have fun and good food.

    1. I loves me some food trucks! I actually applaud the restaurants at Coddingtown who will probably see MORE traffic to their restaurants from people going to the food trucks.

    2. Whining about whiners, with a big scoop of condescension added. You’re pathetic.

      On the topic, I don’t think this will even remotely help the Coddingtown restaurants, but I also don’t care. If there’s some good food trucks that come around to Santa Rosa (and hopefully Rohnert Park at some point), this will be great. Q Craft BBQ and Caribbean Spices are confirmed? Is there a list somewhere, or an official news post about this event?

      Also sad to hear Awful Falafel is gone. I only had the chance to try them once, but what I had was very good.

  10. I’m with Vince. A big part of what makes Off the Grid successful is the setting. A parking lot doesn’t quite cut it. Can’t we come up with an alternative in a county with so many picturesque locales?

    1. They did try to do these at Annadel a few years back, which was really nice, but no one wanted to pay to get in.

      I see your point of like a little better parking lot location — i mean fort mason is really nice for sure. And the one i went to in Marin was by the water, also nice.

      What makes it a little better is that they circle the wagons and create a little bit more of a “square”. Perhaps we could all bring some strings of lights and little tables and chairs? 🙂

      1. Portland [OR] has over 500 food carts available at any given time. (http://www.foodcartsportland.com/maps/ )
        I seem to be the only person commenting who has lived in a town with food trucks–and more, for several years. Portland had a well-established food truck scene when I first knew it in 1998. In the heart of downtown (financial/high-end retail/restaurants) part of a parking lot was turned over to food trucks that had a lot of ethnic fare that didn’t exist in restaurants. They had semi-permanent spots. Other locations existed and still are, in high-traffic areas of the different districts. Places where people walk, shop, eat and hang out. So far, food trucks have not eaten into brick n mortar restaurant’s revenue. And the reason they can offer cheaper food is that they are smaller, have less staff, less overhead, but they still must be licensed and pay fees. It’s not only no threat to the restaurants, it adds to the ambiance and draws more people to these areas, as they can conveniently access a nosh or a meal, and continue their activities. Even our neighbors in that “other valley” have found that food trucks are a good thing–check out downtown Napa. And in Sonoma Valley, Sondra Bernstein, proprietress of girl & the fig, the fig cafe and Suite D has debuted her entry “The Fig Rig” to serve a different demographic’s needs. Who among you doesn’t want even more great food available!

        1. I’m so glad you mentioned this. A lot of Sonoma county was back in the day more of a community and nowadays it’s become more of a selfish game to some people in the restaurant industry here. It should include more of a community based environment where foodies can and will have fun without spending the time or money to go to random cities here. I think this will be the next best step!

      2. Fort Mason is a great venue. It doesn’t infringe on near by restaurants. A similar location….Fairgrounds or the like makes more sense. There’s large properties not being used that could be approached for the concept. It could be Santa Rosa’s Food Truck destination.

      3. I tried the food truck experience in the park, (it was Spring Lake), and really enjoyed it. The line were long, and there was a wait; but the friendly crowd, with families and dogs galore, made for a really nice, cheap dinner by the lake.

        Coddingtown parking lot is not a place I would want to eat, compared to say, Courthouse Square. To this day I can’t figure out how the City of Santa Rosa permitted one food vendor for that square; and it’s just a crummy hot dog cart with bagged chips and canned sodas. Is it his “New York-like” accent, and does the city still think that cart would fly in Manhattan?

        1. They also did the food trucks at Ragle Park a few years ago on Thursday during the Summer. It was a really great way to try some new foods. I was sorry they stopped.

    1. Yes, food trucks need to be parked somewhere. We get that. But who wants to sit and eat in the Coddingtown parking lot??? No grass, no ambiance, but plenty of crackheads around. I’ve been to Off the Grid in the Presidio where people can sit all day and play on the grass and there’s a beautiful view. Coddingtown will never match up.

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