However counterintuitive it may be, food trucks are frequently hidden in plain sight. The brightly designed, often goofily named purveyors of cuisine on wheels are hard to miss as they careen across the city, often stopping at festivals and breweries to peddle their craft. Though somehow it seems that, despite their outlandish presence, the many trucks that populate the city have, up until this point, been tragically underrepresented. Despite their mobility, trucks have suffered from a surprising amount barriers when it comes to getting food into the hands of their customers, be it due to lack of communication with their fanbase or the now mostly obsolete prejudice that they may be “roach coaches.”
Truckster — the digital brainchild of local husband and wife team Connor and Molly Hollowell — provides a platform with a variety of resources to simplify the process for both customers and business owners. It currently has 542 listed trucks and over 200 breweries. While events like Truck Stop Rally have helped to publicize the food, the fact that the Hollowells have over 500 participating rigs across the front range is a testament to how easy it is for the individual businesses to get lost in the crowd.
The main feature of the multi-purpose app is providing a one-stop-shop platform for the trucks’ busy and varied schedules. Additionally, a profile, sample menus, user ratings and an easy-to-use catering request form are available for each of the participating businesses. Initially, Connor did a lot of the heavy lifting, inputting a lot of the details himself. Having previously owned his own operation Maine Street Barbecue from 2014-2018, he approaches the project with a great deal of insight and a real passion for providing trucks with the resources they need to succeed. Truckster’s map is built out of data from event listings, not GPS — a security precaution arising from safety concerns realized after Connor had his truck broken into while visiting family on the East Coast one Thanksgiving. Through years of personal experience, few truck-related stones appear to have been left unturned.
In February of this year, the app expanded its scope to include vendor services. Of the many listed trucks, over 50 individual enterprises are now providing their own info. Of those, over 30 are now allowing for mobile ordering through the app. While the encyclopedic catalog of trucks is dense, the site is a work in progress. Many of the most useful and interactive features are just now beginning to spring from the already handy foundation.
With the service starting and taking off in Denver, the Hollowells have their eyes set on Portland and Austin to be the next cities to join the Truckster community. Ultimately they hope the app will be used as in travel, directing consumers to some of the best local cuisine each location has to offer. While most of the menus are small, they are often innovative and rich with personality. Unbound by the conventions of a brick and mortar restaurant, much of the food can wind up being a more unassuming and sincere representation of local culture.
“I hope people will be able to eat more purposefully from food trucks,” said Connor. By every indication, Truckster is well on its way to becoming a powerful platform for ensuring just that.
All photography by Alden Bonecutter.