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Culinary Discovery & Misadventures in the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Columbus)

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New Category: Leftovers – First Serving: Columbus Mobile Food Timeline

Posted by cmh gourmand on June 22, 2014

Ladies and gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Gourmets and Gourmands, I’d like to introduce you to a new category on the blog, leftovers.

Working a a free-lance writer I sometimes find myself with leftover material or something that met with the chopping block when a magazine runs out of space or runs out of time to get something to print. For this first edition of leftovers, I am sharing a timeline of the history of mobile food in Columbus. This was to go with a story about Jim Pashovich (The Godfather of Mobile Food) of Pitabilities. I’d also like to thank Jim for helping with some of the details as I was putting the timeline together. The story about Jim appears in the new publication, Stock and Barrel which is just now hitting the spots where you usually find 614 Magazine. Bon Lecture.


1886 – Schmidt’s opens in Columbus as a meat packing company. A tradition of serving sausage to go begins which includes the Ohio State Fair (1914 to present) and countless festivals

1934 White Castle, the first fast food restaurant moves headquarters to Columbus

1972 Jeff Morris starts All A Cart Manufacturing, which grows to make all styles of food carts, trucks and kiosks for sale all over the world

1978 Harry Hirschinger “Hot Dog Harry” starts his company, which grows to 18 carts serving Columbus by the time it is sold in the 1990’s

1985 – The Burrito Buggy begins serving Ohio University students in Athens Ohio; it trains a generation of Columbus immigrants to crave trailer food

1986 Derek’s Gyros (founder Jim Pashovich) opens the first gyro cart in Columbus (name changed in 1994 to Skyward Grille)

1990 Bunny & Michelle’s Food trailer starts serving at an east side Home Depot

1990 Kevin & Lori Ames started a food cart (Ames to Please) and later sold it to Open Fresno in the Short North

1990’s Hot Dog and Gyro Carts are popular on the OSU campus, the County Courthouse, The Statehouse and the Arena District. As the numbers increase so does the pressure, competition results in a cart pushed into the river and new regulations for food carts in the city.

1996 Skyward Grill left the sidewalks of Columbus to serve at Columbus State Community College and OSU Medical Center.

2002 taco trucks first appear in Columbus on the west side

2009 a website called Taco Trucks Columbus launches after three food writers find out that instead of four or five taco trucks our city supports almost 45.

2010 Boston Bert’s takes over a space in Clintonville that has been home to a lunchtime food trailer serving Marzetti workers

2010 – the first of a new wave of food trucks and carts takes Columbus by storm – including Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, Mojo Tago, Late Night Slice and Leslie’s Creperie

July 2010 Those previously mentioned food writers start another website, Street Eats Columbus

August 2010 first large food truck events occur at Wonderland and The Ohio Historical Society

Spring 2011 Jeni’s ice Cream adds a truck and a Bajaj to their mobile scooping options

July 2011 Los Guachos gets national attention in Maxim Magazine

July 2011 The Food Fort opens helping entrepreneurs start in the mobile food business through consulting and food cart rental (I work there October 2011 to September 2013)

August 2011 First Food Truck and Cart Festival at Columbus Commons

May 2012 Hot Dog Harry passes away

Summer 2012, the marriage of food trucks and taprooms begins at Zauber Brewing Co

August 2012 First Vendy Awards at the Food Truck and Cart Festival

Fall 2012 Schmidt’s launches their first food truck

December 2012 Serious Eats shares 5 Incredible Tacos from Columbus with the nation

March 2013 – That Food Truck is featured on Nightline

Summer 2013 – City of Columbus investigates possible pilot program for food trucks – while the effort was appreciated, the outcome was as popular as a flat tire

Summer 2013 White Castle launches two food trucks to serve Cravers across the nation

September 2013, The Cooking Network program Eat Street visits Columbus to profile six different food trucks. Episodes should air summer of 2014

April 2014 – Led by Council Member Michelle Mills, the city of Columbus passes what may be the most progressive food truck regulations in the USA

Spring 2014 – more food trucks launch in a community which including Taco Trucks, Food Carts, Trailers and Food Trucks exceeds 150 mobile kitchens. This number includes operations with multiple trucks including Late Night Slice, Mojo Tago, Pitabilities, Schmidt’s and more

May 2014
Mobile Food Advisory Board formed by the City of Columbus. Board members include Jim Pashovich from Pitabilities, Mikey Sorboro from Late Night Slice and Jim Ellison, listed as “Citizen at Large”

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One Response to “New Category: Leftovers – First Serving: Columbus Mobile Food Timeline”

  1. AlohaJo said

    There were taco trucks in Columbus before 2002. I can’t remember the exact date(my memory says late 80’s or early 90’s. Yes I know this was when most of you were either in diapers or not even born yet) there was a taco truck on Sawmill Rd just north of the electric substation that is north of Sawmill lanes. I am sure others remember this truck as well. I can not believe that it was the 1st taco truck in Columbus.

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