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First food truck lane opens in north Minneapolis

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First food truck lane opens in north Minneapolis
Latasha Lee, a northside resident, after receiving sample from Kesha Dent Dorsey, owner of Soul 2 Go truck.
Emma Sapong | MPR News

An effort to bring dining options to north Minneapolis kicked off Thursday with the neighborhood's first food truck lane on West Broadway Avenue.

Food trucks lined up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the Eat on the Avenue campaign, an event that will happen every Thursday until Sept. 28.    On the opening day, Soul 2 Go was out of its popular 'soul bowl' by noon. 

But Latasha Lee was content with a sample of the truck's collard greens, barbecue chicken and corn bread. 

She said more choices are needed in a neighborhood that has an overabundance of fast food chains.

"I'm a little bit tired of eating the same things so I was looking for newer options," she said. "I am tremendously excited. Just having a variety."  

NEON and Appetite for Change have teamed up to address the lack of restaurants by providing options through the Eat on the Avenue initiative.

Food truck vendors — even some based in North Minneapolis — believe they can only be profitable outside the neighborhood, said Ashley Bennett, NEON's Business and Community Relations Coordinator.

"We said we'd bring the traffic if we can get food trucks to stay," Bennett said. "We flyered the neighborhood and people got really excited when we said there's going to be food trucks on the avenue."

There were five trucks, and nearby brick-and-mortar restaurants also participated by offering specials. 

Kesha Dent Dorsey, owner of Soul 2 Go, said the truck is usually parked at breweries on Thursdays. 

"We wanted to come and support. And we also live on the northside, so we definitely believe in community and supporting where we live," she said.

Andre Bell, owners of Harold's Chicken, said the effort is important for the neighborhood's economic vitality.

"It brings money into the community and gives others options as well," he said.

Customer Diamonique Walker beamed when she looked at all the options. 

"I'm excited about this. I couldn't wait to come. I've been thinking about it all week, honestly," she said.

Walker bought the Soultada from Wholesoul food truck.

"It's blackened catfish with corn tortilla and guacamole on it. It looks delicious. I can't wait to eat it," she said.

As the brisk business continued through lunchtime, it was clear the trucks were filling a gap in the restaurant market for lot of people in north Minneapolis.