Walking toward the first food truck immediately brings the enticing aroma of warm, homemade pies. Closer to the edge of the Fulton Mall, more food trucks stand, each with their own tantalizing scents and colorful exteriors. Jazz tunes are heard from a music booth, captivating enough to lure a few patrons out to dance. CartHop was in full swing.
What began as a simple dream, became a reality for Kristin Stewart.
Stewart owns the “Dusty Buns” truck with her husband Dustin, and originally came up with the idea for CartHop.
Other major cities throughout California, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, have hopped on the food truck trend, and Stewart said she wanted to bring it to the Valley.
Stewart said being located in the Central Valley gives vendors access to quality produce and ingredients year round.
“We only use locally sourced, mainly organic ingredients; nothing from our truck comes out of a can,” Stewart said. “We make all of our food fresh from scratch; even our buns are made by hand.”
H. Steele, the project coordinator for CartHop, got involved through the non-profit management company, Creative Fresno. He has been involved with the project from the beginning because he felt it had true potential.
Stewart said she wanted to run it through a non-profit rather than as a business, and approached Creative Fresno to take on the project.
Soledad Eufracio, a downtown enthusiast, has been visiting CartHop for almost seven months and has enjoyed every moment of it.
“It really embodies the creativity of the Valley,” Eufracio said. “It’s become a good place to invite friends to as a meeting place to talk and catch up.”
While the Fulton Mall may not be an ideal location for students, Steele said he has a solution in the works. Steele said the project is trying to attract more students by being more convenient to them.
This season Steele said the trucks are going to be at Fresno State home football games as a means to provide more accessibility to students.
“It’s great food. It’s off a truck. It’s trendy. It’s hip, and it’s the new thing in town,” Steele said.
However, change is in the air for CartHop. This week, Steele said Creative Fresno will be handing off the project to Downtown Partnership.
Steele said Creative Fresno doesn’t have the ability to manage the project any longer, and due to its location, Downtown Partnership is the perfect location.
“I hope that they [Downtown Partnership] include more bands, musicians, have some artists back out there like we used to, and have a new spark underneath the project, and just freshen it up,” said Steele. “Over the last year, we’ve kick-started the food truck movement here, and we’ve seen new food trucks pop up because of that, so we’re really proud that we were able to jump-start that industry in Fresno.”