Off the Grid in Marin!

The weekly Food Truck Crush in the Larkspur Ferry Terminal wrapped up for the season last week, but Marin will not have to wait long for its next taste of gourmet street food.

On Sunday, San Francisco-based Off the Grid will launch its first Marin food truck event at the Marin Country Mart shopping center in Larkspur, across the street from the ferry terminal.

“We have had an interest in wanting to be in the North Bay, in Marin for some time,” said Off the Grid founder Matt Cohen.

Off the Grid has grown rapidly since the company opened its first and largest weekly food truck market in San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center in June 2010. The company now runs 10 weekly events in San Francisco, San Mateo and Berkeley, and attendance has surged amid a national explosion in the popularity of mobile gourmet food.

“It’s not atypical to have 5,000 people,” said Fort Mason Center marketing director Pat Kilduff, referring to Off the Grid attendance at Fort Mason each Friday night. “It really took off.”

The Fort Mason event attracts up to 10,000 people on a busy night, Cohen said.

Plans for the Larkspur market took shape after the Marin Country Mart approached Cohen, both parties said. The food truck market is the latest addition since the shopping center — previously called Larkspur Landing — was purchased in 2009 by Santa Monica-based J.S. Rosenfield & Co. The company has also remodeled the premises and added a Saturday farmers market and a summer outdoor children’s movie series.

“We’re trying to create community and by doing these types of events, that’s what happens,” said Cynthia Pillsbury, marketing director for Marin Country Mart.

Up to 10 food trucks will park at the shopping center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays in the same area used by the farmers market. The lineup of trucks will change weekly from a roster of about 18 different vendors serving everything from fried chicken and doughnuts to Korean barbecue to Peruvian sandwiches.

Off the Grid is attempting to recruit the Marin-based truck Taco Guys, but there is a scheduling conflict because the truck already appears at the Marin Civic Center farmers market, which takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays, Cohen said.

The new market will run nearly year-round with a monthlong break from mid-December to mid-January, he said. In addition to food the market will include live music.

Michaela Biaggi, executive director for the Marin Country Mart Farmers Market, said the farmers market will consider partnerships with Off the Grid such as promoting local produce at the food truck events, or adding a different Off the Grid truck to the Saturday farmers market each week.

Across the street, Golden Gate Ferry officials have said they will consider bringing the Food Truck Crush back to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal after the winter but no plans have been announced. A total of 18,000 people attended the ferry terminal event over the course of 20 Fridays before the event closed for the season Sept. 30.

This article comes courtesy of the Marin IJ.


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