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After two weeks, Moveable Feast proving a foodie success in downtown Morgan Hill

Some downtown restaurants say they are seeing an increase in business

Published in the September 28 – October 11, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Photo by Marty Cheek  Moveable Feast patrons enjoy cuisine from the food trucks on Third Street.

Photo by Marty Cheek
Moveable Feast patrons enjoy cuisine from the food trucks on Third Street.

The Morgan Hill Downtown Association started a six-week experiment Sept. 14 in drawing foodies to gourmet food trucks parked along Third Street — with the intention of helping people discover the many fine restaurants downtown offers. That day, an estimated 2,000 people attended Morgan Hill’s inaugural Movable Feast event, according to organizers.

The vendors come from throughout the Bay Area every Wednesday evening to serve such delicacies as ice cream tacos, dragon rolls, tri-tip sandwiches and the amazingly popular fairy-cakes. People joke with friends and family as they stand in lines to order their meal. Many of the patrons sit on red plastic buckets as they nibble on their on-the-street banquet and listen to live music played on the plaza next to the downtown garage.

The MHDA decided to try the Moveable Feast when Gilroy invited the San Jose-based business to bring its food truck vendors to the Garlic City’s downtown. Many Gilroy restaurants and bars found they actually got extra patronage on those nights, said John McKay, president of the MHDA. With two Moveable Feasts successfully completed, some restaurant owners in downtown Morgan Hill are beginning to see the true positive impact the gourmet food trucks are having on their businesses, he said.

“We have several similarities (with Gilroy), one of them being the businesses were really worried from competition from the food trucks,” he said. “But everything went extremely well in Gilroy, and we heard the trucks brought a lot of people who would not normally come downtown to dine that night. People ended up not just patronizing the trucks but also the restaurants.”

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Two people enjoy food at the Moveable Feast on Third Street. Photo by Marty Cheek

Some of the patrons ended up going to the downtown restaurants because sometimes people are not interested in what’s being served from the food trucks — and sometimes the line to order food can be too long time if too many people show up, McKay said.

“There’s a fascination with these trucks because they’re a lot of fun,” he said. “But this is also a huge social event — and you can see it from all these people sitting on these upturned buckets.”

The carnival atmosphere of the event creates a celebration of good cuisine. Patrons range from families with young kids in stroller to senior citizens enjoying the evening out. The Gilroy merchants and restaurant owners told MHDA members that their success with Moveable Feast this summer helped build their own business brands and expand their customer base as people got better acquainted with their downtown.

“It’s having a lasting effect, even after the food trucks are gone, people are now coming downtown to eat on a regular basis,” McKay said. “They’ve seen the restaurants. This is all about finding something new, discovering what something really is.”

MOVEABLE FEAST

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays to Oct. 19
Where: East Third Street in downtown