Executive chef and co-owner of Guerrilla Street Food Brian Hardesty and representatives of Seneca Commercial Real Estate announced the establishment of Missouri’s first food truck garden.
“By creating a daily food truck destination, we are also investing in the economic stability of our local food truck scene, delivering crowds of hungry diners to the doors of the chefs and food makers who continue to drive innovation and opportunity in our local culinary scene,” Hardesty said in a statement.
The venue, called 9 Mile Garden, will be located in Affton plaza and will play on the theme of family-focused entertainment and bringing the community together.
Visitors can find a variety of local food vendors while enjoying live music, community events, outdoor movies and more. The participating food trucks will rotate daily for lunch and dinner six days a week.
Local and national entertainers can share live music and performances on a permanent stage overseen by audio and lighting professionals to contain the sound and light in the space. There will be small directional speakers so noise won’t affect the garden’s surrounding neighbors and tenants.
In a FAQ YouTube video, Seneca’s project manager for Affton Plaza, Yvonne Merlotti, said there were some Affton community members who were concerned about the sound from entertainers and food truck generators.
Merlotti said, “At most food truck events, food trucks are running on generators. This can be a little bit noisy. Because this is set up specifically for food trucks, we’ll actually have outlets that the trucks can plug into, thus eliminating the noise and the pollution from the generators.”
“We’re completely focused on the overall success of Affton Plaza and its tenants. Anything we can do to bring new and different people into the center, we think is a great idea,” Merlotti said.
“9 Mile Garden is designed to attract people throughout the region, exposing local businesses to Affton Plaza and its tenants.”
Hardesty added, “Our vision is to create a destination where people from around St. Louis and beyond come together to enjoy food, entertainment, and community in a family-friendly environment.”
Representatives of 9 Mile Garden also discussed the origin of its name, explaining that St. Louis farmers drove their harvests and goods to a public space, lining their trucks so people could walk along and buy goods. Their statement notes how the term “truck gardens” was formed with Affton’s history of seeing large numbers of farmers’ trucks.
Owners also note, before streets had names or roadmarkers, landmarks were named for their distance from the courthouse or city center. This is where “9 Mile” comes from because the food truck garden is located about 9 miles from St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. This Spring, 9 Mile Garden will open at 9375 Gravois Road within Affton Plaza.
“In cities all across the country, food truck parks and event spaces, like 9 Mile Garden, not only thrive, they become a beautiful beating heart of a neighborhood.” Merlotti said.