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Food Truck “Experiment” Begins in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — An “edible experiment” launched in Iowa City over the noon hour Thursday as the city allowed larger mobile food vending trucks to set up for business in a city park.

Downtown diners can already find small food carts in the Ped Mall area. There’s no room for the larger food truck vendors there.

But both residents and vendors asked if there was space to gauge the demand for the rolling restaurants during the noon hour in Iowa City.

That led to the experiment that started Thursday at Chauncey Swan Park next to city hall.

Every Thursday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. five mobile food vendors will offer a variety of foods for diners. The experiment will go on for the next four months to see how residents react to something new on the dining scene.

One truck sported a “sold out” sign for some items after the lunch rush.

Liz Wohlford, who operates Box Lunch, was encouraged by the first day.

“Hopefully the crowds will grow. We all had nice lines in front of each truck so we all did a fair amount of business,” she said.

Wohlford said most of the larger mobile vendors already go to farmers markets and similar occasional events that draw a crowd.

She’d like to see if there’s enough interest to make a regular stop in a regular location work.

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