San Benito officials are now opening the door for food trucks

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SAN BENITO — The relishing smack of tantalizing food truck cuisine is closer to hitting home.

For weeks, the city’s new commission has been taking the first steps to draw food trucks — and even food truck parks — into town.

Earlier this month, commissioners passed two ordinances opening the door for food trucks to dish up their titillating grub here.

“We’re open for business,” Mayor Rick Guerra said. “Come over.”

‘Something different’

The city’s opening its doors for food trucks more than a year after Christian Zanca launched the area’s first food truck park in Harlingen.

Now, he’s billing the Moon Rock as “the largest food truck park in Texas.”

“Food trucks give a variety of areas of what people want — things that you can’t get in a restaurant,” Guerra said. “It’s something different. It’s having a variety at one location. I’m for it.”

Feeding community zeal

During the last year, officials have taken about 10 calls from parties interested in bringing food trucks and food truck parks to town, while a developer’s requested copies of the city’s new food truck ordinances, David Favila, the city’s spokesman, said.

It’s the community’s zeal that led commissioners to draft the ordinances allowing food trucks and food truck parks to do business in town.

“People are very excited to see it happen,” Commissioner Tom Goodman said. “Bring them on. It is a wonderful way to get our community out and together. I hope it becomes indicative of what the city is trying to do in opening doors for people to come. I hope people view it as San Benito coming alive.”

The “Welcome to San Benito” sign in undated photo. (Valley Morning Star Photo)

Fitting in

While one of the city’s new ordinances allows food trucks to do business in town, the second makes way for food truck parks to open in commercial and industrial zones.

“It’s not going to be residential,” Guerra said, adding the new ordinances don’t allow food trucks and food truck parks to open in neighborhood areas.

“It’s going to be on the commercial side,” he said. “We require them to be close to restaurants.”

While some restaurant owners might think food trucks would eat into their business, Goodman believes the mobile gourmet kitchens would help draw more customers to the city’s eateries.

“Some people will perceive it as competition,” he said. “But it’s an interesting thing. When you put more restaurants in, it helps all restaurants because people have options.”

Resaca City Food Court

In 2021, officials began giving residents a taste of food truck cuisine when they staged their first Resaca City Food Court, a culinary event drawing six to eight food trucks to Heavin Memorial Park, Favila said.

“We’ve had some pretty good outings,” he said. “People support it pretty well.”

On Sept. 9, the next Resaca City Food Court’s set for Robertson Street, where it’s planned as part of a Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame and Museum event.

“We’re trying to get them going again,” Favila said, referring to the savory fests, with the next being planned for October and November.

Sparking food truck craze

In the area, few businessmen know more about food truck parks than Zanca, who opened his Moon Rock park in February 2022.

After taking over as a co-owner of Brownsville’s Broken Sprocket food truck park, he worked for more than a year to open the Moon Rock, featuring seating for 300 guests along with the longest bar in Harlingen, while offering live music Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Now, the Moon Rock’s featuring a stable of 11 food trucks offering a wide array of delectable delights at 1811 W. Jefferson Ave.

“Apparently, we are the biggest food truck park in Texas,” Zanca said. “Apparently, it might be the biggest food truck park in the nation.”

As San Benito opens its doors to food trucks, he believes the Resaca City’s ready for the brightly detailed mobile kitchens during weekend events.

“Bringing some food trucks to San Benito would be cool,” Zanca said, describing a weekend venue offering live music.