Permanent parking, mobile food

A food truck dining area in Dallas.
Photo Provided

“After almost a year of planning, we
found out today that it’s really happening,” Wheat said after the
DDRC decision.

The idea gained momentum after the
success of H&8th Night Market, a monthly event in the spring,
summer and fall in Midtown.

Wheat looked at H&8th and thought,
“This is great. What if we had this all the time?”

That spurred the idea for Bleu Garten,
an outdoor food truck park at NW 10th Street and N. Harvey Avenue.

It has been a year since Wheat put pen
to paper, and now those plans are becoming a reality.

The name Bleu Garten is a nod to
Wheat’s training at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in
Portland, Ore., and the German word for garden, which is a common
name for community gathering places.

What Bleu Garten is not going to be is
a parking lot. The plans include actual restrooms and community
dining areas, some of them covered. Wheat has already signed on for a
three-year occupancy, and the park will operate year-round. With
approval from the DDRC, Wheat’s next step is to obtain permits. He
and his team plan to break ground on the property in the next month.
If all goes as planned, Bleu Garten will open in August.

Wheat spent some time visiting other
food truck parks in New York to get ideas on how to winterize the
concept. He came away with some useful knowledge about how to get the
area ready for the season and entice patrons into venturing out.
There is talk of including the igloos from the Holiday Pop-Up Shops
for sheltered eating areas.

The plan is to vary the number of
trucks parked there depending on the day of the week. On the busiest
nights, the park will accommodate eight. On a Monday afternoon, there
might be only two open for business. There are plans for a beer barn
and a full bar, and Wheat said they want to emphasize local breweries
and distilleries.

He is very excited about the potential
for Bleu Garten to be a gathering place for the community. He is also
cautious about his role as the person responsible for the project and
how it will impact the community.

“This is a three-year deal, and this
is my first time in the captain’s seat,” Wheat said. “I can’t
afford to run it irresponsibly.”

He already has plans to host events
like pet adoptions and fundraisers that will involve the community,
as well as theme nights that incorporate his neighbors in the Midtown
area. There’s also talk of an outdoor movie screen for family movie
nights.

Devon Green

Devon Green is a life and food reporter for Oklahoma Gazette. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband Kevin and their two slightly evil felines, Goodluck Jonathan and Charles Taylor. Devon has a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma and once ran away with the circus to Macau, China. She is passionately local and lives to promote quality of life in OKC. She can most often be found eating, writing or writing about eating — while eating.

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