The Super Bowl is known for great comeback stories.
There was Montana to Taylor at the end of Super Bowl XXIII, Adam Vinatieriâ€™s last-second field goal to upset the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, and Ben Roethlisberger's threading the needle to Santonio Holmes for the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII.
Now we have another Super Bowl fable for the ages:
The story of Yum Yum Food Truck.
The city of Fort Worth established a temporary â€śclean zoneâ€ť downtown for the week of the Super Bowl. It prohibits the sale of food visible from any public street, public property or sidewalk, except by brick and mortar restaurants. That means no go for food trucks. And the ordinance cites â€śgood order and aesthetic qualityâ€ť as the reason why.
The mobile food revolution that started in Los Angeles a few years ago has had a tough time emerging in north Texas. Truck owners were made to jump through so many regulatory hoops that very few gourmet food trucks exist in the area. The idea of 100,000 hungry tourists flocking to the area gave truck owners a lot of hope. But because of the â€śclean zone,â€ť they were going to be left out in the cold.
Then something kind of amazing happened. When Yum Yum owners announced the ban on their Facebook page, fans were outraged. They wanted their breakfast tacos, Mexican favorites and (for the very brave) 10-lb. burritos. Dozens of people called the mayorâ€™s office. The Yum Yum permit to operate was reinstated, at least for one of the two trucks.
Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth Code Compliance director, says there was simply a paperwork issue. Yum Yum had filed for a permit to operate in the clean zone and it had gotten lost in the shuffle. Funny how that works.
But Yum Yum will be the only truck operating this week in downtown Fort Worth during the Super Bowl festivities. Everyone else is out of luck.
The city of Dallas hasnâ€™t clamped down nearly as much as Ft. Worth, but food trucks will be prevented from taking advantage of gameday foot traffic in Arlington for other reasons. There is a roughly one-mile clean zone extending in each direction around Cowboys Stadium. Michael Siegel, owner of the Green House Truck, says on top of that, his business was priced out of the area.
â€śSpots are going for up to $900,â€ť Siegel says. â€śWe were contacted by several companies that wanted to set up tailgating parties before the game. The truck concept works perfectly with that scenario. However, when you start to calculate how many spots you need to hold the truck, plus a group of 100 diners, tables, heaters, barricades, and other necessities, it becomes quite expensive.â€ť
Hunter Johnson, of the popular City Street Grille truck, agrees. When asked if he was planning to set up near the stadium, he simply said, â€śNo way.â€ť Outside of the costs associated with getting space nearby, thereâ€™s the logistical nightmare of actually getting the truck there, which could take hours. Still, both Siegel and Johnson are hoping to capitalize on the big weekend even if they canâ€™t be near the stadium.
Instead of curbside service for walk-up customers, Siegel and Green House chef Ben Hutchison have turned the truck into a mobile catering operation for the week. Theyâ€™ve already provided food for Super Bowl-themed parties and have booked several other private events. â€śMost of the people requesting our services are searching for the ultimate tailgate,â€ť Siegel says. â€śThe image, as well as the utility of the truck, work with this
Johnson and his girlfriend, Jessica Smith, who owns the City Street Grille truck, plan to stick with street service around Dallas all week. Theyâ€™ve been selling a variety of wraps, including a Greek wrap, Philly cheesesteak wrap and Cuban wrap since they first rolled out roughly nine months ago. Theyâ€™ve built a cult following with a late night favorite -- their steakhouse burrito. It has scrambled eggs, skillet potatoes, caramelized onions, sliced prime filet and peppercorn gravy, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla.
Theyâ€™ll be taking the City Street Grille truck to Highland Park Village, their old stomping grounds, for a few days before ending the week, including Super Bowl Sunday, parked in downtown Dallas.
â€śWe might not be able to catch people at the stadium, but theyâ€™re still flooding into Dallas, so we hope to get them here.â€ť
Theyâ€™re also flooding into Fort Worth. Ice and snow shut down the Yum Yum Food Truck earlier this week, but owner Randy Elledge says he is back open for business and ready for Sunday.
Not even Mother Nature can stop Yum Yum.