JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Johnson City has a lot to offer when it comes to food choices. Sometimes, those choices are only limited to drive-thrus and sit-down restaurants.
A downtown food truck court is about to open on East King Street near North Roan Street.
“It’s going to bring about a different flavor for downtown. There’s really nothing around here that is like this where you have different cultures all in one space getting together to share foods and arts,” said Coco Enriquez, owner of King Mercado.
King Mercado will be Johnson City’s first food truck park with two permanent trucks and several others rotating Thursdays through the weekend.
“I feel accepted because a lot of places we have to reach out and say, ‘Hey, will you let us set up here?,’ and then just cross our fingers and hope it goes well. We’re super excited to be linked up with this to say ‘I can be here every Thursday or every Friday if I wanted,” said Samantha Lopez, the owner of the L’Churro truck. “Johnson City has never had an area for just food trucks so I’m excited to see the potential that it has.”
Eduardo Rojas has moved his authentic Mexican food truck, El Lagunero, around Jonesborough for the past four years. He plans to set up his next truck at the Johnson City Market.
“It’s going to be different kinds of food trucks so the people can go over there…they can choose different kinds of food- if they like Mexican food, BBQ or different foods,” said Rojas. “This is nice to be in one place. You don’t have to be moving much. When the people see you in one place- they know you’re there and they’re going to be there.”
Different artists and shops from around the Tri-Cities will also be part of the open-air market concept.
“I hope that it brings more diversity to our area. I hope that it makes people feel more comfortable in our area. I hope it makes each individual see each one of us as individuals,” said Marjorie Foster who plans to sell chakras, candles Palo Santo, and sage at her permanent vendor spot, Infinity.
Other food vendors can also set up shop.
“This is going to be an incredible thing in general for our community but to be in a spot that people can consistently come and see me and get pastries…it’s going to be really fun,” said Victoria Rivera.
She owns Mabette Street Bakes which specializes in Puerto Rican pastries.
“My family is Puerto Rican, I’m Puerto Rican, hence the pastries, but to see that grow over the last few years and then to have something like this pop up to expose people in this area to just all kinds of different cultures is really cool and really important,” she said.
The owner hopes this will encourage people to embrace different cultures in the Tri-Cities.
“A lot of times, we tend to go where we know and where we know people and this will be a space hopefully that will bring all those people together in one area,” Enriquez said.
Eventually, Enriquez hopes to add an interactive mural and food court to the bottom level.
The park is set to have a soft opening the first weekend of June and a grand opening the following weekend.