By Illyshia Parker
Birmingham Business Journal
Local attorney and investor Eric Guster is creating opportunities for food truck owners to expand their services in a new location in downtown Birmingham.
Guster opened a food court at 1104 Third Ave. N. and is already hosting Taquería La Catrina taco truck as well as Frozen Rooster’s food truck.
The idea behind the food court is to provide a level of stability for the food trucks so customers know where to find them on a consistent basis. Both Frozen Rooster and the taco truck are currently open for business at the Third Avenue North food court.
Guster said business owners rent the space monthly and can come and go as they please. Food trucks can leave the space to go to events and then come back to their space afterwards. The location will operate this way for the next six months to a year before development begins on a brick-and-mortar location.
“What I’m doing is really testing concepts before I build a building there, or elsewhere,” Guster said. “It gives me a chance to work with the entrepreneurs, see how they handle their business, like their proven concept, see their sales, see their consistency. And for those who want to get into a brick and mortar … I already know them and know how they work, and it’s a lot easier to risk money on someone you have a relationship with and have witnessed their work over time, and that’s one of the main goals of this.”
Guster said food truck owners often do not have the funding to open a physical location, and places like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have usually taken the best locations. In fact, the food court site was previously home to a restaurant.
Guster purchased the property from Waffle House in November 2021 for $425,000. It has over 30 surface parking spaces and operational space for up to six food trucks.
“I’m providing a space that has already been vetted by one of the top food places in the country for this particular space, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing a couple more times as well,” Guster said.
While his long-term plans include developing a brick-and-mortar site and expanding this concept at other locations, Guster’s present focus is on making sure the two businesses on-site do well.
“I’m looking forward to working with the Design Review Committee on getting approval to improve the space and doing some signage and other things over the next few months, so that we’ll be fully functional by spring,” Guster said.