A local food trucker who says he wants to help give Wichita a central place to patronize the growing number of food trucks in town is planning to open a food truck park at a high-profile intersection.
Willie Finley, the owner of Willie’s Wings food truck, says he has leased the massive parking lot at 6315 Kellogg, which is at Woodlawn and Kellogg, from the owner of the adjacent motel, the Starlite Motor Lodge. On March 1, he’ll debut The Truck Stop, which will have room for 13 food trucks to park over the lunch and dinner hours seven days a week.
Truckers will lease spaces from Finley, and the lot has electricity they can use. There will be room for customers to park, he said, and he’ll put up a few bar tables where they can hang out while they wait for their food.
He already has three trucks signed up and is getting constant calls from others, he said. He wants to wait to reveal his lineup until closer to opening day.
Finley, who first opened his wing truck three years ago but made it his full-time gig last year, said he felt Wichita was in need of a central location where people could discover different food trucks.
He’s frustrated that so many Wichita diners prefer to patronize chain restaurants, and he wanted to create a place where local food purveyors could thrive.
“Wichita is a big, booming city,” he said. “It’s growing, but at the same time, the food truck community is growing as well, and they’re not getting that same shine as the regular brick-and-mortar restaurants.”
He wants the park to always have a mix of different cuisines, and he sees it as a place where already-established food truckers can help draw fans who will then discover newbies trying to build a following.
“People can use it as a stepping stone to help build their business,” he said.
When there are openings, Finley said, he’ll occasionally invite food trucks from out of town to come and park to give Wichita an idea of what else is out there.
The hours for the park will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. There will be shortened hours on Sundays, but Finley hasn’t settled on what they’ll be.
Wichita once had a pretty popular food truck park — the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park at 121 E. Douglas — which operated from 2014 until the summer of 2020. Wichita State still has its Food Truck Plaza, where a few truckers park on good-weather days.
But this will be the first time a larger-scale food truck park has landed in Wichita, though they’re common in big cities.
Finley, whose truck serves 13 flavors of chicken wings, will be a regular tenant at the park. Trucks who want to lease a space must be fully licensed with the city, he said. Those interested can contact him at 316-730-5659.
I’ll keep you posted as opening day for The Truck Stop gets closer.