You can find food trucks just about everywhere these days. They're parked in front of office buildings, near construction sites and even on college campuses. This weekend they'll go where no food truck has gone before -- Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves.
On Friday and Saturday, from 2 p.m. up to each game's first pitch, Just Loaf'N Po'Boys and The Mobile Marlay will have their rigs parked along Monument Grove.
Ron Ranieri, GM for Aramark at Turner Field, came up with the idea when he was exploring ways to connect with the Braves faithful.
"Food trucks have taken the nation by storm recently and they’re becoming more popular in Atlanta," he says. "My biggest goal is to give the fans what they want."
It might seem odd to invite competition in, but Ranieri points out that they have several subcontractors at Turner Field, most notably Chick-Fil-A. Besides, he's a big fan of mobile dining.
"I love that food truck show on the Food Network," he says.
Ranieri spent a couple days visiting different trucks around the city, and gauging interest on promotion from their owners. In the end, he found two that were excited to be the guinea pigs at Turner Field.
Colin Comer of The Mobile Marlay has a brick and mortar restaurant in Decatur, but just got the truck running full-time a few months ago. He's originally from Dublin, Ireland and knows a thing or two about fish and chips. They regularly sell out of the dish, and he's stocked up for the baseball games this weekend.
"We have 240 pounds of North Atlantic cod and 400 pounds of potatoes," he says. "We'll probably do between 500 and 1,000 orders."
The Loaf'N Po'Boys have their own brand of seafood ready for the weekend. Their shrimp po'boy was named one of the best sandwiches in the city by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Jambalaya and beignets are also crowd favorites. Owner Darren Williams has seen the food truck promotion work at other stadiums and he was eager to get in on the ground floor.
"Teams like the Rockies are having great success with it," he says. "Food trucks are just a craze all over the country especially with the slow economy."
Coors Field, another stadium whose concessions are run by Aramark, invited the first food truck to an MLB game last month. Ranieri hopes the idea will also catch on in Atlanta.
"Myself and a number of Braves executives will be out there to support them," he says. "Their food is just wonderful."
Sounds like Ranieri is going to put his money where is mouth is.