Keep on food truckin': PhillyMFA event supports Fishtown's LSH

Phil­adelphia Mo­bile Food As­so­ci­ation brings food and funds to Fishtown, and res­id­ents sa­vor both.

The idea of grabbing food when you’re on the go is hardly a new one. Lately in Philly though, it’s your food that’s on the go, trav­el­ing in food trucks that have been pop­ping up on many a street corner.

Thanks to the Phil­adelphia Mo­bile Food As­so­ci­ation (Phil­lyMFA), Fishtown got a yummy taste of this for­ward-think­ing food phe­nomen­on last week­end, with a char­it­able bo­nus to boot.

On Fri­day, May 4 at 6 p.m., Phil­lyMFA brought four loc­al food trucks to the park­ing lot of Luther­an Set­tle­ment House, at 1340 Frank­ford Ave., as part of its first “pop-up” food truck event. Patrick O’Rourke, who co­ordin­ates mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions for Phil­lyMFA, said that there was a con­stant in-and-out of about 100 people at the pop-up, and all of them were hungry.

“Pitruco Pizza served 85 piz­zas in the first 80 minutes,” O’Rourke said. “That’s a good in­dic­at­or of the volume.”

Phil­lyMFA, formed in Decem­ber, had ar­ranged for four trucks (the own­ers of which are mem­bers of the or­gan­iz­a­tion) to provide sweet and sa­vory grub to the as­sembled crowd. Pat­rons noshed on fare from Pitruco, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Spot Bur­gers and Zea May’s Kit­chen, which dished up Nat­ive Amer­ic­an in­spired cuisine.

The group, which seeks to provide low-cost eat­ing al­tern­at­ives and en­rich Philly com­munit­ies, donated 10 per­cent of the pro­ceeds from the pop-up to the Luther­an Set­tle­ment House. The House’s ser­vices in­clude an adult lit­er­acy pro­gram, trans­ition­al hous­ing, seni­or ser­vices and a bi­lin­gual do­mest­ic vi­ol­ence pro­gram.

Erika Tapp, de­vel­op­ment man­ager at Luther­an Set­tle­ment House, said that Phil­lyMFA ap­proached them as a po­ten­tial space for the event, and it was “a nat­ur­al fit” that LSH was very en­thu­si­ast­ic about.

“We’re look­ing to en­gage a lot more with the neigh­bor­hood, and this event fits really beau­ti­fully with what we’re try­ing to do,” she said.  “It’s a great idea.”

An­drew Ger­son, founder and board mem­ber of Phil­lyMFA, said that along with in­creas­ing neigh­bor­hood safety and sup­port­ing the busi­ness com­munity, trucks provide people with a re­laxed, low-cost eat­ing en­vir­on­ment.

“What these pop-ups are for is bring­ing people to­geth­er,” he said. “It’s less ex­pens­ive than bars, and it’s something new and fresh for the sum­mer.”

O’Rourke said that Fishtown was a great neigh­bor­hood for such an event.

“It’s so much fun…the people of Fishtown are so lively. They had their dogs and kids, and a good vibe on.”

O’Rourke said that more events are in the works, and Phil­lyMFA is cer­tainly open to the idea of re­turn­ing to Fishtown and oth­er river wards neigh­bor­hoods.

He’s con­fid­ent that food trucks’ pres­ence is much more than a fad.

“People with brick-and-mor­tar res­taur­ants are hav­ing trucks now,” he said. “They make more profit that way.”

“At first there was a res­taur­ant versus food trucks di­vide,” he said. “I think that di­vide is just go­ing to go away.”

He men­tioned that at one point dur­ing the pop-up a well-dressed couple pulled up in a taxi, clearly on a date.

“That’s when I thought,” he said, “We are of­fi­cially a des­tin­a­tion.”

To keep up with Phil­lyMFA, vis­it phil­

Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or mjam­is­

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