“By food trucks, for food trucks.” That’s how Mr Burger’s general manager, Maleik Edwards, describes Welcome to Thornbury. The giant beer garden and food-truck park officially opens at 5pm this evening, with Mr Burger, Caliko BBQ, Greek Street Food, Korean Fried Chicken and Señor Churro in residence.
Edwards and the guys behind Homeslice, Fancy Hanks and Mr Burger, Daragh Kan and Myles Munro, have been planning the site for about 18 months. The way they see it, operating a food truck isn’t easy. They should know: they have nine Mr Burger trucks cruising around Melbourne.
At festivals and other high-volume events, organisers take up to 20 per cent commission from a food truck’s revenue, or else demand a lump sum of several thousand dollars. Inevitably this cost gets passed on to customers.
Welcome to Thornbury holds six trucks at time. Each pays just $50 a weekday and $150 on weekends to cover the cost of electricity and rubbish removal. They’re also off the road, which takes away the need for operating permits and council approvals.
This model is so attractive that 43 food trucks have already signed up to appear at the former Morris Minor factory site throughout August, some coming from as far as Geelong. There’s a mix of new (Ramen on Wheels, Brazilian Bites) and established (Los Diablos, White Guy Cooks Thai) trucks.
While this explosive start will no doubt pull WTT through the last stretch of winter, the site is really geared towards summer. Its vast, open-air decks hold about 560 people, while two long bars and 35 CUB-sponsored beer taps are designed to reduce waiting times almost to zero.
In this vein there are big jugs of shared cocktails, such as the Trailer Park Tea, an “iced-tea moonshine”. In colder months (i.e. now) there’s space for 140 inside. What are you waiting for?
Welcome to Thornbury's full schedule is available here.