Street Treats: the beginning of a food revolution on the Hill?

A customer at the Street Treats van. Photo by Joel Lee.
I have long been arguing that Beacon Hill needs more street food vendors, so I am especially happy to have Street Treats answer my call. Not only do they provide a revolving variety of pies and cookies, but most importantly in this hot weather, they sell Bluebird homemade ice cream.

We rolled into Beacon Hill this last Friday after a grueling 13 hour drive through eastern Washington heat, and went immediately in search of the Street Treats truck which was parked this last Friday right across from the light rail station. We had to try more than one thing, so we had a homemade ice cream sandwich with double chocolate cookies and mixed berry ice cream and an equally amazing full-flavored espresso ice cream made with Stumptown coffee—both of which were amazing.

It’s hard not to notice the large increase in pedestrians near the light rail station in the last year, and since development has stalled, portable food vendors are in a perfect position to take advantage of this foot traffic. It pains me to see fences around gravel lots in areas that could so easily accommodate and attract more food trucks. How awesome would it be to have a revolving variety of food vendors in our neighborhood on any given night? There is no reason that neighborhood restaurants and businesses couldn’t capitalize on a regular mini food festival. More locals could develop small businesses and we all could use a multi-ethnic gathering area.

In the meantime, Street Treats desserts are not only delicious but they are served in an eco-friendly manner. Their truck uses biodiesel and serving materials are all biodegradable and compostable, so skip dinner and watch for the Street Treats truck parked near the light rail station on Friday nights between 6:00-8:00 pm.

Joel Lee maintains the Beacon Hill Public Art website and has posted previously on this blog about street food.

Could these fences be replaced by food carts? Photo by Joel Lee.

10 thoughts on “Street Treats: the beginning of a food revolution on the Hill?”

  1. This sounds great, unfortunately these trucks are not based out of Beacon Hill. Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy Street Treats and food trucks, but it’s nice to see local businesses and local residents of Beacon Hill supporting the growth of this up and coming neighborhood.

    I do recommend Street Treats’ mixed berry ice cream however!

  2. It would be great if someone could rent the fenced in space,
    and then rent out stalls to food trucks/Vendors.The stalls or space could be set up like the Pike Place Market. Rent out there spaces but by the month. I am not sure what the laws are concerning, electricity, food permits etc.

    This would be a great addition to the Hill, and the Light Rail travelers. It would allow us to enjoy on Beacon Hill a variety of food and tastes we can’t get up here. Not to mention boost business on Beacon, and Light Rail

  3. My wife and I got to try the Sweet Treat truck at the Seattle Center Mobile Food Fest thing last weekend… definitely excellent treats!

    (Pro Tip: If you get a “build your own ice cream sandwich” you can use two different cookies… one for the top, one for the bottom. Treat yourself, you’re worth it!)

  4. @Louis, why can’t trucks be based on Beacon Hill? What about the guy selling cherries at Jefferson Park? Or the guy selling hats on 15th? Or my neighbors selling Chinese Herbs out of their back yard garden? I think that there would be many local vendors that could take advantage of such a space.

    @Cheryl, it would be great to have power provided by the property owners but many food trucks like Street Treats run off of their own power.

    @Tyler, brilliant tip!

    @ Everyone else, I just got an email from a friend of mine who writes ‘There’s a new little trailer park that started up in Georgetown, one block away from Airport Blvd., in the block where Jules Maes is located. It has one store (Frida) right now, plus some other old trailers that are being fixed up. They are encouraging food trailers to come there too, and have grand plans, such as eventual outdoor movies. They’ve had a couple of events so far, e.g. an outdoor market that I participated in last weekend, selling vintage wares.”

  5. Outdoor movies on Festival Street would be neat.

    Luis, I believe the folks who operate Street Treats either live on Beacon Hill or recently lived on Beacon.

  6. I’m generally with Luis on this, regardless of where the trucks call home. All things equal, I’d much rather drop my hard earned cash on the counter of a brick and morter business because that takes a significant investment in the neighborhood, which we need and I appreciate. However, the Street Treats truck is an example of a niche that probably wouldn’t survive a storefront on BH (yet), unless they teamed with a coffee shop, etc. I’ll be sure to check them out tonight. Maybe a successful 2 hours per week on BH will turn into more time and an eventual full-time business, but that doesn’t seem to be the intent. I would prefer to walk in and sit down at a Molly Moons or Old School, but the lack of those types of shops in most neighborhoods, and the level of traffic needed to sustain them, makes the Street Treats model make sense. I would love to see a sandwich/dessert/coffee shop in a small storefront next to other small businesses on the bottom floor of a nice new mixed use development on the station block in a few years or so. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    Regarding the outdoor movies, I believe the NBHC tried that a few years ago but I can’t remember who took the lead or why it never got anywhere. I think one of the ideas was to use one of the walls of the new gym at the community center, but I like the idea of having it in the business district on the festival street as Wendi suggested. Maybe tie it on the end of the Beacon Rocks events. It’s nice to see a group pick up that idea again. I don’t know the first thing about projecting movies but I’d love to help out on that. Maybe my Cinema 101 class at USC qualifies me to pick a couple good movies. I’ll sign in on the Beacon Arts site.

  7. The little shop that was Spoons for a couple of years would seem to be a good size for a little ice cream shop. I was hoping that the windows were covered there so that a new business could move in.

    Unfortunately, it appears that we won’t be getting any new retail or restaurants in that storefront. Golden Daisy knocked down a wall to it and they are using it for laundry and storage. This is unfortunate, to say the least. One more blank storefront on Beacon Avenue.

  8. @Chris, I think that the key to having a vibrant business area is to have a wide variety of shops and businesses that serve a broad spectrum of needs and a key to this is to allow really small businesses like food carts. One of the best things about food carts is the relatively small start up costs. You are correct that mobile vendors do not have as much invested in the neighborhood, but having a vibrant business district helps ALL businesses. There was a good article in INC in May that discusses some of these issues.

    @Wendi, that is too bad about the Spoonz space, but did I see that the Golden Daisy building was for sale?!?

  9. I just happened to see this article and had to comment. It’s great to see that the Sweet Treats food truck is still roaming around Seattle two years after this article was written. I recently visited them at the Mobile Food Rodeo in South Lake Union a couple of weeks ago and they had a continual line of people buying treats from them. The Seattle food truck scene is awesome!

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