Place Making with Food Trucks

Curbside Cuisine in Downtown Colorado Springs is a result of a goal to increase vitality in Downtown Colorado Springs, through Colorado Springs Urban Intervention.

One of the many beautiful photographs from Bussanich~Kjeldsen Art of Better Block Pikes Peak.
One of the many beautiful photographs from Bussanich~Kjeldsen Art of Better Block Pikes Peak.

In the process of implementing Better Block Pikes Peak in September of 2012, several of the dedicated volunteers for BBPP created a board through the non-profit organization, Pikes Peak Community Foundation. We wanted to create something that could be a tool for the financial side of BBPP, but could also live on beyond the 24-hour urban experiment. We called it Colorado Springs Urban Intervention, or CSUI.

If CSUI was to sum up the mission statement of the organization, it would be to get things done. We are not an organization for creating long term vision plans, or creating beautiful renderings. We reserve these tasks for our individual respective companies as designers, developers and entrepreneurs. Collectively, CSUI is about getting things done through experimentation and continuing to improve upon it. We don’t look at “failure” in the same light as most. When an implementation does not work as expected, we learn from it, and calibrate the implementation. One man’s “failure” is CSUI’s lesson learned.

Our urban interventions to date include Better Block Pikes Peak, “Flippin’ Benches… and Beer”, a chalkboard wall, and our current ongoing intervention “Curbside Cuisine”. Curbside Cuisine has by far been the most involved and impactful of interventions.

CurbsideCuisine-Before-Google
The site of Curbside Cuisine is an abandoned service station situated across from Downtown’s Historic Acacia Park and along City Arterials Nevada Avenue and Platte Avenue. Image from Google Street View.
Photos courtesy of Nick Kittle (@kittlent)
Photos courtesy of Nick Kittle (@kittlent)

The process began with site selection, and lease negotiation. When this was secured through a partnership of similar missions with the YMCA at an abandoned gas station in Downtown Colorado Springs, the work really began. The site was previously remediated of hazardous conditions from the Gas Station by the YMCA, but it certainly was a place in need of a lot help. Canopy repairs, power washing, paint, paint, paint, and site improvements were critical to make the place suitable. As a non-profit organization under the financial pressure of leasing the property, time was also critical to begin getting food truck vendors in place.

A soft opening was scheduled and met for Curbside Cuisine on May 15, in which we started with four food trucks. Today, over one month later, Curbside Cuisine has eight vendors on site at most times and an additional two vendors who are more sporadic with their schedules. The current vendors at Curbside Cuisine include The Local, Maco’s Tacos, Good Karma, Creole Kitchen, Crepe Crusaders, Za Pizza, The Chuckwagon, Heavenly Desserts, Jamaican Jerk, and Farm House. A Grand Opening is being scheduled for early- to mid-July, however more details are to come.

The following are some of the images of Curbside Cuisine, which as you can see, has a very tactical urbanism side to it with furniture made from pallets, horse trough herb planters, tire barriers, and of course the food trucks and trailers themselves.

"Soft Opening" in Downtown Colorado Springs
“Soft Opening” in Downtown Colorado Springs
The reuse of the previous service station sign
The reuse of the previous service station sign. Photo courtesy of Frank Kinder (@FrankKinder1)
Pallet Furniture at Curbside Cuisine in June
Pallet Furniture at Curbside Cuisine in June
A view from the shaded canopy seating area at Curbside Cuisine.
A view from the shaded canopy seating area at Curbside Cuisine.

You can follow Curbside Cuisine at the following Social Media Outlets: Twitter; Facebook

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