Denton Has a New Food Truck Park — Now All the City Needs Are Food Trucks

Backyard on Bell, Denton's new bar and food truck park, opened this past weekend.EXPAND
Backyard on Bell, Denton's new bar and food truck park, opened this past weekend.
Courtney Jacobs

Backyard on Bell opened this month, doubling Denton’s combination bar/food truck park options. Located on the corner of Bell and McKinney (formerly Ken’s Produce), Backyard on Bell offers a few things Austin Street Truck Stop lacks, mainly green space and the overall sense that you’re eating a convenient meal under a shaded picnic table that just happens to be located next to a bar, instead of vice versa.

Here's hoping this much-needed physical expansion will usher in a food truck renaissance for Little D, a call to wheels persuading established food trucks from other cities to take the northern trek and make use of the facility and the growing demand for mobile food. Better yet, perhaps local entrepreneurs will see Backyard on Bell as an opportunity to realize their own dreams and open trucks of their own, as JB Paschall and wife Lissa did recently with their renovated Airstream-turned-hot-dog-truck, Beware of Dog.

With a few exceptions, Denton’s food truck options reflect the town’s already present dining options, with a slimmer selection but expanded hours. If you’re in the mood for tacos, barbecue or a sandwich, take your pick. But the beauty of the food truck format is that it provides a vehicle that can quickly fill a niche dining void with lower overhead than a brick-and-mortar business. And considering Denton’s food trucks are often the only available non-fast food dining option after standard dinner service ends, the more diversity they offer in dining options, the better. So if you’re hot in the biscuit to start your own food truck but aren’t sure what your concept should be, allow us to lend you one of ours. Here’s our list of seven food truck concepts we’d love to see around Denton.

Does anything pair better with beer than a warm, fresh-baked pretzel?
Does anything pair better with beer than a warm, fresh-baked pretzel?
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A German pretzel wagon
Don’t confuse a legitimate German soft pretzel with the overly sweet, twisted sponge cake your kid throws a tantrum for at the mall. A true German pretzel is something to behold; they’re glossier and darker than your standard stadium pretzel because they’re dipped in a caustic lye solution before baking. The lye breaks down and gelatinizes the pretzel’s surface proteins and starches to achieve that shiny crust.

If done right, they’re slow-fermented, allowing the dough’s flavor and structure to develop gradually in a colder environment, leading to a tangier and more complex pretzel. Pretzels are the perfect bar snack, and even more perfect food truck fare. And there’s no need to get all fancy with toppings — just stick to a few shakes of good old fashioned coarse sea salt. Of course, nobody would hold it against anyone if they offered, say, a gourmet mustard bar.

The grilled cheese food truck is old hat by now — which means there really should be one out in Denton.
The grilled cheese food truck is old hat by now — which means there really should be one out in Denton.
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Grilled cheese sandwiches
Denton needs more cheese. A grilled cheese truck might sound silly at first, but imagine it’s 1 a.m. and you’ve had a few beers. You know you should eat something, but the idea of wolfing down an entire plate of nachos without wearing the damn thing in the end seems impossible. And what if, just maybe, you could eat a freshly made grilled cheese sandwich with your choice of cheese and bread and even possibly a side of tomato soup? Doesn’t that sound lovely? Think about a day out with the kids. There’s no way you’re going to talk them into a taco, but perhaps you could build yourself a dressed-up grilled cheese with Gorgonzola and wilted spinach and cranberry chutney while the tykes reveled in melted American on Wonder Bread. It’s a match made in heaven.

Denton sorely needs more fancy cheeses.
Denton sorely needs more fancy cheeses.
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Abendbrot to-go
Even with a dedicated grilled cheese truck, Denton would still need more cheese. Yes, there are a few places around town where you can treat yourself to a pretty great cheese board, but our a la carte cheese options are just sad. Last time we checked, Kroger’s most adventurous cheese was Havarti with dill. Abendbrot, roughly translated as “evening bread,” is the German practice of eating a light snack of open-faced meat and cheese sandwiches for dinner. (Think gourmet Lunchables and you’re almost half way there.) Instead of slaving away to make a large meal, the deconstructed cheese and charcuterie spread, replete with pickles and mustards, lets you unwind with the family over a low-fuss meal that still satisfies a good portion of the best food groups, and clean-up is a cinch. An Abendbrot truck could pair a rotating selection of cheeses with fresh breads and gourmet meats in a convenient takeaway container for a quick lunch, last-minute picnic plans or a satisfying dinner for those of us who don’t plan ahead. 

Pies are good. Fried pies are better.
Pies are good. Fried pies are better.
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Fried pies and soft-serve
Denton needs more dessert. Beth Marie’s ice cream is the only dessert-dedicated business in the downtown area, and anyone who’s stood in line for 20 minutes for an ice cream cone knows they can get slammed on a nice day. Imagine a food truck parked near the square in the early evening that offers fried pies and soft-serve ice cream. By the time your kids are absolutely done sitting still at the restaurant, you can take a family walk for hand pies and a swirl cone of soft-serve. 



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