Westside Food Truck Central is back in business, much to local foodies' delight.
The trucks, which serve lunch and dinner, set up shop in a church parking lot located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue. The lot draws quite the lunchtime crowd, mostly employees from Sony Studios, located across the street.
"Culver City is like a melting pot… you've got your Santa Monica crowd, your Venice crowd, the UCLA students… the diverse combination of people makes them more open to trying the different kinds of food offered at the trucks," said Gravy Train Poutinerie operations manager Joe Nacion, when Patch visited to check out Wednesday's dinner crowd.
Poutine is a French Canadian dish of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. The dish is a hard sell to the Hollywood crowd, he said, but his meals often sell out during lunchtime at the Culver City spot.
It is the diverse offerings and relaxed atmosphere that draw local residents like Angela Chandler to the lot. Chandler said that she loves food trucks but can't stand crowded events like Venice First Fridays.
"This lot is so convenient, and the evenings are usually very relaxed and quiet," she said in between ordering an olive oil and rosemary ice cream almond coconut cookie sandwich at the CoolHaus truck.
Other regulars said they were surprised to see Wednesday evening's low customer turn-out.
"There used to be so many people… often it was so crowded that you couldn't find a seat," said Westwood resident Toni Leib, who frequented the Culver City spot last year.
Back then, she would wait in lines of ten people or more. On Wednesday night, she simply walked right up to the food truck window to place her order at the Poutine truck.
"I mean, it's nice not to wait, but I don't want to see this lot closed," she said, digging into a steamy pile of onion and cheese-coated fries.
Patch checked in with Nacion to see how well his truck was doing later on in the evening.
"It's a particularly slow day," Nacion said, his brow slightly furrowed but still sporting a cheerful look. "Nothing like lunch usually is here. And even though it's been slow for me, I'm getting more business than some of the other food trucks."
But whether he will come back to the spot depends on how much his truck makes, he said. Setting up shop for the night costs him $40. As long as his costs don't exceed 10 percent of his profit— or, in simpler terms, as long as he makes a profit of $400 in a night—the operation is worthwhile, he said.
When Patch talked to Nacion again at 7 p.m., with two hours of service left to go, Nacion said he was not even halfway to his target profit amount.
"I really hope business picks up," said Leib, eyeing her niece's plate of cheese quesadillas. "Mmm look at that… That's what I like about food trucks, there's just so much to try."
Westside Food Truck Central is located at 10601 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90232, at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue. The lot is open for lunch every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and dinner every Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.