Categories: BusinessTop Story

Food trucks fill dining void in Sammamish

Around Sammamish neighborhoods and parking lots, food trucks have made more appearances in the last few months. While restaurants were under limits for in-person service due to COVID-19, some of them took advantage of their already-established food trucks and catering services to better reach customers.

A weekly regular at Klahanie, Delfino’s Chicago Style Pizza has had to change from parking at regular lunch spots for office workers to finding more residential areas. New neighborhood spots have surfaced since the pandemic started.

Sofia Vargas, 27, who has been working for Delfino’s for over two years, experienced this switch in clientele first hand.

“We’ve been doing more apartment buildings and homeowners associations. We’ve tended to switch more towards more residential areas because you know, everyone’s at home,” she said.

Delfino’s has also become a part of the Mobile Meal Alliance, a meal voucher program where churches and food banks host food trucks and give out meal vouchers for their constituents to redeem for food. The trucks get reimbursed by the churches and food banks for each voucher sold. This model has served as a unique way for food trucks to earn income while giving back to the community.

Delfino’s serves personal-sized deep-dish pizza. (Photo by Lin Yang)

“It’s been great to have different programs pop up in response to what’s been going on,” Vargas said.

While the overall dining business has been down, customers have been wanting to support food trucks and restaurants. The mobility of food trucks has proven to be customer friendly. Trucks can cover a lot of ground by hitting new spots and reach a broader customer base.

“It took a while to find the new spots. I’m hoping it’ll pick back up, especially with the weather getting nicer, it’ll be easier to go outside, and hopefully things are looking up on the pandemic front which will also help,” Vargas said.

Another regular truck in Klahanie, Famous Dave’s BBQ, had only recently started in the food truck space. They converted their existing catering resources into a food truck, and have taken it out nearly a dozen times so far.

Chris Young, who has worked at Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant for 12 years, recently switched to the food truck. He said the truck was created to help bring in more business.

“We started [the food truck] because of COVID. The restaurant could only do to-go orders in the beginning, then only 25% capacity, now up to 50%. In essence, for the business to survive, we came up with this,” Young said.

Much like Delfino’s experience, Famous Dave’s BBQ truck has found it difficult to find successful places to park where there is guaranteed foot traffic. Food trucks cannot freely choose where to park, since they are required to sign up for certain times and places in advance.

A barbecue spread from Famous Dave’s BBQ (Photo by Maddie Afonso)

“It’s very hit and miss. You have to go all over to find the good spots and the bad spots for food trucks. Some places, like [Klahanie], are better, but there’s no telling until you get there,” Young said, describing an instance when they were placed in front of a Facebook office building that had no one working inside.

Meanwhile in Klahanie, one customer of Famous Dave’s BBQ noted that he appreciates the convenience of having food trucks in the neighborhood and hopes the food truck trend “stays the same after COVID.”

As more food trucks frequent residential areas in and around Sammamish, residents can keep up with schedules and locations by going to:

If you have a lead on other food trucks coming to town, let us know when and where by sending a tip.

Maddie Afonso

Maddie Afonso is a senior at Eastlake High School, where she is an editor of the yearbook and writes for the school’s magazine, the Wolf Street Journal. Maddie covers business news for the Sammamish Independent.

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