It`s official. Geneva has embraced the food truck. What are your plans for lunch this week Genève?
It was just two years ago, on September 1, 2014, that six food trucks rolled onto the streets with a stamp of approval from Genevan authorities to operate six days a week, rotating between six different public locations in the city centre. Just over a year later 30,000 people crowded onto Promenade Saint-Antoine, over three days, for the first ever “Geneva Street Food Festival”. The old town was alive with hungry street food seekers and Geneva was hooked on the food truck.
With ten food trucks now authorised to operate in ten public spaces five days a week the appetite for good street food isn`t waning. Here’s a list of the ten and their locations. The Tribune de Geneve estimates that there are at least 30 food trucks however operating in Geneva; the ten authorised to operate in public spaces and at least 20 more.
These trucks did not suddenly roll into the city in September 2014. The Hamburger Foundation has been around since 2012 for example, but prior to 2014 they had to operate on private lots or in markets. Plainpalais was a popular market and Sunday was always a good day to partake when much of the rest of the city was closed.
The modern food truck phenomenon began in Los Angeles in 2008, if you believe the street lore. The financial crisis, young chefs experimenting with fusion styles while the prospect of owning their own restaurants was out of reach, and the rise of social media all bubbled together in LA which it turns out was the perfect cauldron. Kogi BBQ was the first to emerge from this brew. Soon trucks appeared all over LA and New York. They were, dare we say it, hip. Here was the possibility of fresh innovative dining at prices which, while higher than fast-food, were more within reach than eating at the hottest new restaurant.
The trucks that have popped up over the past years tell a story of this city. It`s a story of fresh, locally farmed ingredients meeting bustling streets and busy city life, oh and yes, it`s a story about lunch. Much of the offerings are American inspired with hamburgers, lobster rolls and burritos in ample supply. The trucks themselves often nod to a retro americana. Brooklyn Kitchen has a vintage AirStream trailer from the 1960’s. There are also european influences as seen in the menu from Urban Gastronomy and Nero’s Pizza al Taglio aims to create the best Roman sliced pizza possible. Meanwhile, Debi’s Kitchen offers asian inspired plats each week with locally sourced ingredients.
A second “Geneva Street Food Festival” was held the weekend of May 27th 2016 and there were many winks to a playful and roughly-edged Americana, with “Pig Me” Ramen and “Le Pie” on offer, not to mention the vibe which said no fixed address and proud of it. If this is what it takes to get a bowl of Ramen for less than 22 francs in this city, then bring on the food trucks.