Too tired to cook? Don’t feel like making the trek for carryout, but don’t want to pay for delivery either? A group of Jewish residents is bringing food truck vendors right to their neighbors’ front doors.
The idea was first conceived of by Jeremy Steinhorn, a resident of Pikesville’s Jones Valley Townhouse community and member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. He recalled that, during the summer of 2020, he saw a food truck in a local neighborhood with zero customers around it. With a background in marketing and the use of social media, he realized he had the opportunity to both support local businesses while providing neighborhood residents with the convenience of a meal served practically in their backyards.
Looking up the contact information of different food truck vendors, Steinhorn began messaging them via email or Facebook, telling them “Hey, we would love for you to come to our neighborhood. How can we make this happen?”
While some vendors felt unable to participate due to a lack of a Baltimore County permit to operate there, Steinhorn explained, many others quickly expressed enthusiasm. Since he first started inviting them to his neighborhood in August of 2020, Steinhorn estimates a dozen different food trucks have come to the Jones Valley area. He tries to get a new truck to come each month.
With the help of some friends from his high school days, Steinhorn has been able to expand this to other neighborhoods. Caren Leven, the executive director of the Baltimore Zionist District and another resident of Pikesville, has worked alongside her neighbor, Nancy Brown, to bring these food trucks to Pikesville’s Stevenson neighborhood. Meanwhile, two other friends, Stacy Fox and Scott Landsman, have worked to bring food trucks to residents of the Owings Mills and Reisterstown areas.
Food trucks that have accepted these invitations, Leven said, have included Boss Burger, Kona Ice, Chesapeake Food Works and BMore Greek, and have been selling everything from burgers, coffee, doughnuts, tacos and Greek food, to name a few.
The group organizes the trucks so that one will appear at the same street corners in the given neighborhood, Leven explained. For instance, the Stevenson neighborhood will typically see a food truck on Thursday evenings and occasionally on Saturdays at the corner of Birch Hollow Road and Woodvalley Drive, while Jones Valley will see them on Tuesdays and Fridays where Brookfalls Terrace meets Rockland Hills Drive. The ones for the Owings Mills and Reisterstown area are on Stable Manor Drive.
Care has been taken to limit the prevalence of COVID-19 at these food trucks, Leven stated.
“People wear their masks,” she said. “People stay socially distant. The trucks do pre-orders so people can order online and then come pick up their food when it’s ready, so there’s no congregating.”
The businesses that have been participating have been very positive about the experience, Leven said. For her part, she added that she’s enjoyed providing this boost to the local economy and giving residents the chance to get some good food while escaping from their homes, if only for a few minutes at a time.
At the moment, Leven is planning for the food truck program to continue through the summer.
“As long as they want to keep coming, we’ll keep having them,” she said.