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Ballpark neighborhood is getting Salt Lake City’s first food truck park

October 16, 2023 by Nicole Mason

Salt Lake City is getting its first food truck park, and it won’t be an attraction that requires sunny weather.

Block Party 300 will be open year-round, with indoor seating available for almost 300 people when the weather turns cold.

Block Party 300 is opening this fall at 1391 S. 300 West in the Ballpark neighborhood, at the site of the former Granato’s deli. Up to six food trucks will be able to park out front, and free parking will be available for patrons in the adjacent Lowe’s parking lot.

Born out of a partnership between ComCom Kitchen owner Danny Cheng and Granato’s Gourmet Market owner Frank Granato, Block Party 300 is a combination food truck park, commissary kitchen and event space. It’s also where Granato’s makes and distributes all its sandwiches and other grab-and-go food items, which it sells at multiple locations around the valley.

The flexible setup is optimal for local food-focused entrepreneurs who don’t want to pay for a building, staff and everything else that comes with having a fixed location, Cheng said. “If you’re just opening a storefront and praying for people to come in, that type of business model went out the door with COVID,” he said.

Cheng said he was inspired to open Block Party 300 after a recent trip to Austin, Texas, where food trucks are everywhere. “I saw one of these food truck parks in action, and it was pretty amazing,” he said. “And I just imagined something like this would eventually pop up in Salt Lake, and I’m excited to be the first one to try and do it.”

The name Block Party 300 is a nod to Block Party 2700, the “community food hall” that Cheng and Frank Granato opened in 2022 at 4044 S. 2700 East, Holladay.

Granato wanted to create an “old school” block party vibe with the food hall, Cheng said, and Block Party 300 is an extension of that. Both are family-friendly hangouts with an emphasis on food, like “the neighborhoods where everybody would come to their front porches and everybody’s just lounging,” he said.

And having multiple food trucks parked outside will ensure that there’s “something for everybody in the family to come down and enjoy,” Cheng said.

In addition to indoor seating, Block Party 300 will come equipped with indoor restrooms as well as a covered patio.

Visitors will also be able to walk across the street to Shades Brewing’s new beer hall and high-end cocktail lounge at the Engine Block building, which is under construction at 1388 South. Trent Fargher, Shades’ chief operating officer and chief financial officer, said they plan to open the two new spaces sometime in December.

Sauce Lake City, a festival dedicated to spicy food, will be the food truck park’s soft opening on Saturday, Oct. 7, from noon to 8 p.m. Entry is free, and there will be free samples, food trucks and a “spicy challenge.”

With the heavy road construction on 300 West recently completed, access to Block Party 300 is wide open. “Everyone’s avoided Third West for two years, and now we need to bring them back,” Granato said. “Show them how beautiful they made it.”

Designed to be a one-stop shop for food truck owners, Block Party 300 offers a small shared kitchen space with stoves and sinks for prep work, as well as refrigerators and freezers for storage. This allows business owners to come in, do the minimal cooking that they need to do, then get back out and finish everything on the food truck.

According to state-level standards, most food trucks must have an agreement with a commissary kitchen and have to return the food truck to the commissary regularly. Then they have to drive to wherever they want to set up.

But at Block Party 300, with the kitchen and parking space all in one spot, food truck owners don’t have to travel between the two, and can avoid wear and tear on their vehicle, and reduce take-down and setup time.

“That’s the best thing about this partnership and what we’ve created,” Cheng said. “It’s so fluid, where we can do so many different things. … We’re just trying to create the ideal space for the modern food vendor.”

Cheng also doesn’t charge a fee or expect a percentage of sales for food trucks to be able to park and do business at Block Party 300. Business owners have to rent space in the shared kitchen to access those amenities, but just setting up shop outside for the day is free.

And food truck owners don’t have to be renting commissary space at Block Party 300 to be able to do business there.

Dang Brother Pizza Utah, which bakes wood-fired pizza on the back of a vintage fire truck, has been doing business at Block Party 300 for a couple of weeks for lunch service. Co-owner Kyle Coughran said it’s been a slow start “just because it’s so brand new.” However, he said, “the space is amazing, the location is great” and it “has such a large potential to be something fun.”

“Our goal was to just show that this is going to be a spot that hopefully in the near future can bring a decent amount of people, and people can get some good food on the fly,” Coughran said.

Until Oct. 27, ComCom Kitchen and Granato’s are also teaming up with Millcreek’s Over the Counter Cafe to bring breakfast, lunch and grab-and-go items to the cafe space on the first floor of Salt Lake City Hall. A rotating selection of food trucks will also be parked outside every Tuesday and Thursday.

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