The trees haven’t grown yet, the temperatures are still miserably low and there’s not yet a robin in sight. 9 mile garden (9375 Gravois Road, Affton; 314-390-2806) gives us hope that winter will soon loosen its icy grip on our beautiful city. The region’s first and only food truck fleet announced yesterday that it will open its 2022 season on March 1, with new trucks, special events, live music and a lineup of festivities sure to entertain all ages. .
The 2022 launch marks the third season of 9 Mile Garden, and this year promises to be the best yet. The fleet will feature a rotation of more than 30 unique trucks, with queues announced weekly via social media. The garden will be open seven days a week; the trucks will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Brunch will be available on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hardesty explains that he is happy to give people reasons to stay even later.
“If needed, we would be open until 1:30 a.m. [a.m.]”, Says Hardesty. “We try to create a range of things to do for adults from 9 p.m. until closing, which are free or paid events, whether it’s a DJ or a touring comedy number. We do live music three times a week, and we want people to know that we’re a pretty versatile place.”
While the food truck element is what 9 Mile Garden is best known for, Hardesty’s goal for the upcoming season is to host a variety of experiences that go beyond food and drink. . In addition to live music and comedy, he’s also delighted to host farmers’ and makers’ markets, trivia nights, movie screenings, and recreational options like pickleball, pucks, and cornhole.
However, Hardesty knows that trucks are the main draw of the park and to that end, it has curated a diverse lineup of offerings from established brands to newcomers. This season, hungry diners can expect delicious food from Trucks such as Doggie Mac’s, Red Dirt Revival, Clara B’s, Guerrilla Street Food, Farmtruk, Truckeria Del Valle and many more.
“There are several reasons why we’re building the line the way we do,” says Hardesty. “First, we base it on the quality of the truck, and second, we like to keep it fresh and new. Every year, a dozen or more food trucks start up in the area, and we want to give them space to grow and build their own. audience. About about a third of our lineup this season is trucks that have never been here before, which is exciting. They’re happy to be here and come out of their trucks to talk with the veterans who have it. been since the beginning. It helps everyone, which is super cool to see.
Hardesty also hopes this year will see a consistent lineup of trucks, which he admits has been a challenge due to pandemic-related staffing issues. He understands that there have been times when people have tried to pick up a particular truck, only to find that that brand couldn’t be there because they had no one to work with. He is optimistic that he and his team have found ways to solve this problem.
“Personnel issues were a problem last year, but this year we feel like we’ve diagnosed why and solved that problem,” Hardesty said. “People can expect a consistent lineup, and the trucks that need to be there will be there.”
Reflecting on the past two and a half years of 9 Mile Garden, Hardesty is proud of what he and his team have created and look forward to seeing the park continue to grow and evolve. A seasoned truck driver himself (Hardesty co-owns Guerrilla Street food with his friend and business partner, Joel Crespo), he can’t help but think back to the early days of the city’s food truck scene and how it became a thriving phenomenon – one that 9 Mile Garden undoubtedly helped cultivate.
“Before, the trucks only served lunch and hosted festivals and food events in the parks,” says Hardesty. “To see this idea come to fruition is really exciting.”
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