Battered, beaten and bruised seven months ago by Sandy, Long Beach is certainly not down for the count. The emotional and financial struggle to rebuild the City by the Sea continues to make great strides. Boardwalk repairs are well underway, shops & restaurants are beginning see the light of day and local homeowners are as determined as ever to rebuild their lives. One constant throughout the turmoil is the seasonal lure of the sun, sand and waves along Long Beach’s 3 ½ miles of ocean beaches.
Post-Sandy, the City of Long Beach was faced with a potential dilemma: how to attract and maintain (feed) the influx of seasonal visitors, who frequent the city’s eateries on a daily basis, while most of the city’s eateries were still in the throes of rebuilding? The answer came in a (sort-of) ‘if you build it, they will come’ proposal ~ Shoregasboard.
Spearheaded by Alan Adams, owner of Sugo Café in Long Beach, the City of Long Beach launched Shoregasboard, a food truck market designed to help bring visitors back to Long Beach. Shoregasboard consists of a small fleet of 6-7 food trucks, owned by established Long Beach businesses. Each food truck business agreed to pay a fee of $4000 each to the city for the right to set up shop in a municipal parking area at Riverside Blvd. & the beach, 7 days a week, beginning on May 23 and running through September 2. Weekdays from 11:30am -2pm and 5:30pm -8pm, and on weekends from 10am – 8pm, hungry beachgoers can feast on everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to duck fat fries and pulled pork lettuce wraps.
It should be noted that this pilot program has been met with some opposition from eateries that are struggling to re-open, yet cannot afford the near $20,000 cost to set up a food truck. The concern is that the food truck market will lure customers away from the brick & mortar eateries that are just trying to keep their doors open. We can only hope that the trickle down effect of Shoregasboard and the return of summer visitors will benefit all recovering businesses in the City of Long Beach.