Apr 22, 2019
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Fresno food trucks bring flavor to Downtown experience

Paul Schlesinger / The Collegian CArtHop brings local food trucks such as Dusty Buns and Tako to the Fulton Mall area every Thursday afternoon. The food items served are made from locally grown ingredients.

Paul Schlesinger / The Collegian
CArtHop brings local food trucks such as Dusty Buns and Tako to the Fulton Mall area every Thursday afternoon. The food items served are made from locally grown ingredients.

Just as the sun begins to settle overhead, a mixed aroma of food brings passersby to the Northeast end of the Fulton Mall, where every Thursday afternoon local food trucks gather for CArtHop.

“I smelled food,” said June Goree, a CArt Hop frequenter. “I usually get tamales from [Casa De Tamales], but I saw three other trucks and decided to hit them all.”

Many of the customers are from local businesses nearby the Fulton Mall, while others are family members taking a stroll through the mall.

Six to seven food trucks line the mall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. serving everything from strawberry cream cheese pies at Summertime Pies to pesto pizza from Mattie’s Wood Fired Pizza – all using locally grown ingredients. There’s also Tako BBQ, a food truck specializing in Korean barbeque, and Benaddiction, a truck that makes all kinds of breakfast food.

Chef Naomi Hendrix’s truck, Raw Fresno, has options for those keeping it all natural with menu items such as sprouted lentil salad and green smoothies. The most popular item is the Caribbean taco, a tangy version of the classic Mexican dish. The Caribbean taco consists of a purple bed of shredded cabbage covered in a sunflower seed pâté, pineapple sauce and dairy-free ranch.

“I ordered the Hot Cacao and Caribbean taco,” said customer Alyssa Vasquez. “I’m doing Whole30, it’s an anti-inflammatory eating thing. You can’t have sugar, wheat or dairy, and this truck doesn’t use any of that. If she does use sugar, it’s natural sugar or honey.”

Casa de Tamales owner Lisa Sanchez said her business benefits from CArtHop because of the opportunity it presents to take food from her restaurant to her food truck.

“It’s great because it brings food to the people and reminds them about our restaurant,” Sanchez said.

With changes coming to the mall, Downtown Fresno Partnership event coordinator Rocio Andrade said that CArtHop has a lot of potential.

“With Fulton Street coming in, we’ll be working with other organizations to add more entertainment and craft,” Andrade said.

Started by local food truck Dusty Buns Bistro a few years ago, the food truck movement continues to grow in Fresno with CArtHop and the Downtown Fresno Partnership bringing the community together, Andrade said.

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