Off The Grid, the San Francisco-based food-truck organization that has grown to a total 50 markets, is moving its Uptown Oakland market to Temescal. The former, which launched two years ago and is located on Williams Street and Telegraph Avenue, near the Fox Theater, will have its last day on Aug. 11. The new Temescal market will make its debut on Thursday Aug. 18 and run from 4 to 9 p.m., according to OTG.
The Temescal market will take over a block of Shattuck Avenue between 45th and 46th streets, just west of Telegraph. (Oakland’s other Off The Grid market, Lake Merritt, takes place on Friday nights at the Oakland Museum of California.)
Asked about the motivation for the move, Ben Himlan, OTG’s director of business development, said Off the Grid had always been interested in the Temescal neighborhood. “It has changed quite a bit in recent years, and there is a really interesting food scene popping up,” he said.
The Temescal market will feature a rotating roster of seven food trucks, many of them familiar to the Uptown market which has, in the past, hosted El Sur, Ebbett’s Good to Go, Whip Out!, Bacon Bacon, SAJJ Falafel & Shawarma, Frozen Kuhsterd, Roderick’s BBQ, Seoulful and Korean Fried Chicken.
The Temescal market will also feature a movie series, a program of live music, and a new concept called Merchant of the Market. This initiative aims to involve Temescal’s brick-and-mortar restaurants by giving them the opportunity to become vendors alongside the food trucks.
“Brick-and-mortar restaurants that are part of the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District can apply to participate in the weekly Temescal market as tented vendors on a rotating basis — it’s another way Off the Grid is integrating the local community into the market,” said Himlan. “Every week, there will be seven regular vendors, and the Merchant of the Market will be the eighth.”
This idea may have been hatched as a way to ensure local restaurants view the arrival of food trucks as a bonus rather than a competitive threat. Berkeley’s original Off The Grid market, in the Gourmet Ghetto, was shut down after a year and a half, despite its enormous popularity, partly because existing restaurants complained of declining business on OTG nights.
OTG food truck pods have arrived in many East Bay cities over the past few years — there are now a total of 11 in the East Bay. They are present in Emeryville, Alameda, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Concord, Fremont, Hayward and Pleasanton. However Berkeley has been notable for opening, and then closing, three OTG markets: at the North Berkeley BART station most recently, on Telegraph and Haste, and, in 2012, the original, on Shattuck and Rose.
The Uptown market has already been removed from the OTG website.
Correction: OTG originally announced a beer garden at the Temescal market, but this plan has since been dropped.
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Off The Grid pulls plug on Southside Berkeley market (03.17.14)
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Off The Grid says goodbye to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto (12.20.12)
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