JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — An open-air market and food truck park has officially opened in the Tri-Cities. A soft opening was held Thursday, welcoming guests while they served up some new flavors.
The owner of King Mercado food truck park says something like this was missing in downtown Johnson City, having a place to not only celebrate the community but also great food and local business.
It was an idea years in the making, but born out of the pandemic.
“This was a perfect opportunity, food usually brings people together,” said Coco Enriquez, owner of King Mercado.
Enriquez started the food truck park with her big city experiences in mind.
“I was always used to going to get a kebab or getting something from a food truck, I figured why not Johnson City?” said Enriquez.
The idea is to celebrate many cultures and give people a chance to try something new.
“You go and you taste different foods and you see different art, different vendors that have something you don’t typically see,” said Enriquez.
The food truck park sits at North Roan and East King Street in close proximity to all downtown has to offer.
“It definitely feels like a breath of fresh air because I am finally finding something that is gonna reach the masses,” said Enriquez.
Right now there are two staple trucks at the park, with the plans to expand to around four to five. One of those is Downtown Sweet.
“We think this is gonna be a great place to start something new, start something exciting. It’s 100% a celebration of the community,” said Nicola Aghabekian, manger of Downtown Sweet.
Downtown Sweet transitioned from a storefront in Jonesborough now to a food truck in Johnson City. They say the model is sweet for switching things up.
“We wanted to reach more people instead of just being stuck in one location, that way everyone can experience Downtown Sweet, and not just one community at a time,” said Aghabekian.
The goal is to support local businesses, artists, and all kinds of vendors. It is a fresh start this summer on the tail end of the pandemic.
“It’s letting them rejuvenate themselves and come back out and be able to make money doing what they love to do,” said Enriquez.
As much as it is meant to be a celebration of diversity, the goal is also to showcase the roots of the Tri-Cities.
“I also know Appalachia is part of who we are here in Johnson City. I want to celebrate that too,” said Enriquez.
The food truck park is now open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at East King Street and North Roan street.
By next weekend they plan to have around four to five food trucks on rotation.