By Vanessa Willis, Staff Writer—
Located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, Food Truck Alley strives to bring the community together to support small businesses and good food.
Karol Brigham, the owner and founder of Food Truck Alley, said that she has wanted to own a food truck since she was teenager. While on a road trip with her husband, she visited a food truck park in Oregon and was inspired.
“It seemed like such a neat idea to have all the food trucks in one place,” Brigham said. “They were all working so well together and supporting each other. It was an awesome operation and I thought that I would love to have something like that in Chattanooga.”
After a year of zoning, location scouting and partnering with food trucks, Brigham’s decade long dream became a reality with the opening of Food Truck Alley on Jan. 30, 2021. Opening day was a massive success, far surpassing Brigham’s expectations.
“It was amazing support and an amazing turn out,” Brigham said. “Everyone seemed to be having a good time and I could not have asked for a better day.”
Food Truck Alley features food trucks from the Chattanooga area with a vast variety of food options, including snow-cones, tacos, coffee, asian cuisine, salads, burgers and baked goods.
Brigham believes that the unique and abundant food options at Food Truck Alley make the business especially convenient for University of Tennessee at Chattanooga students.
“I think the alley is great for a college crowd,” Brigham said. “Everyone can come down together and then split up and get whatever kind of food they want.”
Despite challenges brought on by Covid-19, Brigham said that the pandemic did not make starting her business any harder. Since Food Truck Alley is entirely outdoors, it doesn’t face the same regulations as other businesses as it offers a naturally Covid-friendly dining space.
“Nothing is enclosed, people come and go slowly in and out, and nothing is crowded or too close together,” Brigham said..
Food Truck Alley is the first of its kind in the Chattanooga area. Even through the pandemic, the food truck industry nationwide has soared, growing nearly 8% in the past five years according to recent market research. This success has led to various food truck parks popping up in cities around the country.
Along with Food Truck Alley’s initial success, Brigham says the support she has received from the community is outstanding.
“Never in a million years when I thought of starting this alley did I think that so many people would be so involved and supporting and care about this little space that used to be full of weeds,” Brigham said. “It really is overwhelming to have so many people behind this little business.”
Food Truck Alley is located only two miles from campus on Market Street, right beside Cupcake Kitchen. The alley is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. For more information on Food Truck Alley and their vendors, visit www.chattalley.com or @FoodTruckAlleychattanooga on Instagram.