In the past several weeks, there’s been a veritable deluge of mobile food vending events popping up all over Oakland: Bites Off Broadway, the five smaller pods run by an informal coalition of East Bay food truck operators — to say nothing of the new Alameda outpost of Off the Grid, which launched last Saturday.
The latest contender? The Eatup, a new weekly food pod that’s open tonight, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., in an unused parking lot at the corner of 21st and Telegraph avenues (2025 Telegraph Ave., if you need to Google Map it).
Started by two UC Berkeley grads, Austin Luke and Derek Yuan, The EatUp was conceived as “a gathering of gourmet food trucks, DJs, and artists,” according to their press release. Luke told me the idea for the food pod came about after he and Yuan attended a couple of First Friday Art Murmur events and found that there was a “food desert” of sorts on that particular stretch of Telegraph, in the Koreatown Northgate (KONO) district.
“So we just decided to do it,” Luke said, adding that at first they’d only intended to host the event during First Fridays.
- Customers lined up at a previous Eatup event.
But their inaugural event, on May 4, was so successful — with a turnout of over 1,000 people and lots of positive feedback — that Luke and Yuan decided they might as well make it a weekly event. So they went through the application process stipulated by Oakland’s new interim mobile food vending policy. Their permit just came through today, and tonight will be their first food truck event that doesn’t coincide with a First Friday.
Luke explained that the First Friday events will still be bigger, with eight to ten trucks, plus live music (next month Albino! will be playing) and some kind of art component — in the past they’ve had a jewelry maker and live painting. They’ve also had something called Swap-o-Rama-Rama
, where kids can bring old clothing and there are sewing machines set up to reconfigure those old clothes into something new.
In the meantime, the non-First-Friday events will be on a smaller scale for now. For tonight there will be a lineup of three food trucks: CurryUpNow, Sweet Treats Stop, and Sanguchon (a Peruvian BBQ truck). Music will be provided by local DJs Freddie Future, Honey Knuckles, and Spank Bank.
The other vendors they have lined up for the next First Friday include Ebbett’s Good to Go, Sam’s ChowderMobile, Happy Dumplings, Señor Sisig, and Pizza Politana.
The Eatup will take place every Friday, at least through the end of the summer. Luke said he and Yuan will play it by ear and see if they want to add more trucks for the weeks that don’t coincide with Art Murmur.Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.