Many food trucks that typically set up at meters on 5th and Market St. have been forced to relocate, causing a loss in business for some. J. Gumbo’s and Traveling Kitchen were set up on Market Street across from the usual location on Friday, Aug. 3. | Photo by Rebekah Alvey

Workers and visitors downtown may not find their favorite food trucks at their normal locations. Several popular trucks will be relocating until Nov. 30 due to construction and bagged meters at 5th and Market.

Drew Jackson, an employee from the Cajun food truck J. Gumbo’s, said being stationed at 5th and Market with several other trucks was convenient because so many people worked within walking distance.

In the past three days of operation after relocating, Jackson said sales were down by almost half. He said one truck had to send employees home for the day because the truck didn’t make a “single dollar.”

“Some people just don’t want to walk that far for lunch,” Jackson said.

J. Gumbo’s has reserved a parking meter close to the previous hub on Market Street for an entire month and said it will try to book it for longer because it is still close to people working downtown and avoids the noise of construction on Main Street.

Meters on 5th and Market have been bagged by PARC for MSD work. | Photo by Rebekah Alvey

There is no single way of locating food trucks in Louisville; Jackson said a lot of businesses rely on social media to let people know where they are. Food trucks are facing a transitional period right now, he added, because not everyone follows them or knows where they have relocated to.

David Ball and Erin Leonard said they work on 4th Street and occasionally go to downtown food trucks. Ball said he would typically not go more than a block to find a truck. Friday, Leonard said they walked specifically for Traveling Kitchen, which was set up on Market Street.

Chuck Downes, owner of Black Rock Grille, was set up on Main Street early morning Friday. He said sales had been down since changing locations and not being able to set up at 5th and Market.

Downes said the city did notify food trucks about the changes and helped secure other meters. He said he wasn’t upset with the city or construction, however.

“I understand they have to do what they have to do,” Downes said.

Tiffany Smith, director of Parking Authority (PARC), said the meters on 5th and Market will be bagged until Nov. 30 for Louisville Metro Sewer District as crews make necessary repairs to sewer lines. She confirmed PARC notified businesses who had previously reserved those meters about the work. 

Once businesses were notified, Smith said PARC offered a refund for the meters previously reserved or assistance with relocation. She said MSD work takes priority because the repairs are necessary.

In the future, Smith said other meters could be bagged for MSD to let the work be done as efficiently as possible. Still, she said PARC hopes to assist local businesses, including food trucks, impacted by these changes by helping them find a viable location using information accessible to them.

Rebekah Alvey
Louisville native, Alvey is currently pursuing a journalism and Arabic major at Western Kentucky University. In the fall she will be returning to the College Heights Herald as News Editor and previously covered administration and academics on campus. She spent the past five months studying in Aarhus, Denmark, at the Danish School of Media and Journalism where she covered the European Union, abortion laws and world politics. While she loved traveling around Europe for a semester, she is excited to be back and reporting in Louisville.