Morphing from a space where artists can show, sell their work and keep 100% of the profits to a weekly food truck event was not that big of a jump, said Rachel Abrahamson, director of The Food Trucks at Hillside. Because, for her, it’s not about making money, it’s about helping the community.
“Creating community space that’s free and also helps people shows appreciation for the community and for someone’s work,” said Abrahamson, “and that doesn’t change whether it’s an artist or someone crafting or preparing food.”
The Food Trucks at Hillside was born out of a pop-up art show and collective space at 1674 W. Hill Road, started by Abrahamson, called 2nd Sunday’s on Hillside. When the pandemic began, the shows had to temporarily close, and Abrahamson and her landlord decided to open up the parking lot space every weekend for local food trucks. People can follow Food Trucks at Hillside on Instagram and Facebook for weekly updates and vendor information or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Any silver lining in this year of COVID is that it really refocuses things and helps us look at community and say, what can we do to help each other,” said Abrahamson. “It feels a lot like ‘Little House on The Prairie’ time, like let’s all share what we have and work together. We don’t have any agenda other than helping people.”
Since December of 2020 Hillside has hosted over 24 local food trucks. Abrahamson said there are some repeats but they try to space it out so people can experience new food and different vendors can use the space. She said that every owner has an individual story and it feels productive and purposeful to help them put some money in their pockets.
“When the pandemic hit one of the concerns I had was with the food and service industry, I mean who doesn’t love food,” said Abrahamson. “We recognized there were a lot of trucks out there, and a lot of them are small mom-and-pop businesses. My whole goal is to help as many people as possible.”
Abrahamson said one of the trucks, the Happy Camper Kitchen, that serves what it calls Dutch oven cooking, is owned by a family that’s running the truck as a means to put their son through college.
Hillside has trucks come from all over the Treasure Valley and has hosted Crisp, La Crepe Boise, Bistro Babe, The Sammie Shack, Fusion Frites, Lime and A Coconut, Off The Grid Pizza, Fly Food Truck, Melt Food Truck, Rockin’ Q BBQ and many more.
As the weather gets warmer people have been enjoying the space, and Abrahamson said people are biking up and putting snacks in their baskets as they go on rides in the foothills or meeting new people in their community from hanging out.
She hopes to expand to more days in the summer, thereby giving more options for great snacks and getting these food truck owners a little more money to sustain their business. Abrahamson is also going to restart 2nd Sunday’s on Hillside as soon as it can be done safely regarding COVID. People can email email@example.com for updates.
“When people say I can’t do something, I say watch me” said Abrahamson, “and Boise and the North End has a history of coming together and helping each other out, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”