The two contract employees from the Metroplex working on a project at the Happy State Bank building downtown were tired Thursday. And hungry.
They had been working since 6:30 a.m. They eschewed the new wooden picnic tables at the Food Truck Park and instead ate their lunches of beef fried rice under an umbrella propped up between the two food trucks that will call the park along 10th Avenue home.
"It was a good deal. We got two meals for 12 bucks," said Martin Rodriguez of Dallas. "I thought it was going to be like 20 (dollars). Plus we got four egg rolls."
Rodriguez and Dagoberto Pozos of Fort Worth got their food from Le's Oriental Express, an orange and white truck owned by the Le family. Le's Oriental Express and Boydston's Fair Foods will be anchored at the new Food Truck Park tucked in between Johnson and Lincoln streets. The park had its soft opening last week.
Thong Le, who is the co-head cook along with his little brother Sang, said he is excited about trying to build a clientele that knows exactly where the truck will be to get sticky rice and egg rolls.
"We want people to know that we are here," Le said. "They are trying to build some continuity here."
Which is what Le and his family are trying to do. Binh Le and Lang Nguyen, Thong's dad and mom, left Vietnam 38 years ago and moved to Amarillo. Thong and Sang were born here. Thong said his mom, who is almost 60, has been cooking and feeding people since she was 7.
When asked what his specialties are Thong immediately looked to Lang. She's the one who makes the sauces and wraps the egg rolls by hand, he said. Everything Le's Oriental serves in handmade, Thong said.
The other truck headquartered at the new park probably will be familiar to people who attend the Tri-State Fair. Boydston's red truck is a mainstay at the two-week extravaganza, said Ben King, the brainchild behind the Food Truck Park.
"If they aren't at the fair, they will be here," King said.
The beauty of a food truck is that it is mobile, and the truck can just park outside an event or a construction site to feed people and make money. But King is trying to capitalize on something more unique to Amarillo in 2018: location.
Sitting at one of the 10 picnic tables, customers eating their corn dogs from Boydston's can see the FirstBank Southwest Tower rising over every other building in downtown, Xcel Energy's new office building and the crane working on the new baseball field. Standing at the entrance to the Food Truck Park on Lincoln Street, people can look down the street to the north and see what will become Amarillo's new minor-league baseball field.
In addition to the ballpark being so close, King said he's hoping to capitalize on the nightlife that is slowly starting to pulsate in downtown. The Food Truck Park, which will open for lunch at 11 a.m., will stay open until 10 p.m. Sundays, midnight Mondays through Thursdays, and 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, King said.
"So many people want to get into the food truck business," Le said. "This place will give small-business entrepreneurs a head start."
King said he has space for two more food trucks but likes the idea of keeping one of those spaces open for rotating trucks. Jeez Louise is a local truck that serves ham-and-cheese waffle sandwiches, waffle desserts and many other waffle creations. It will be at the park on Tuesday, Aug. 22 and Aug. 29.
King said he is trying to secure spots for food trucks specializing in barbecue or tacos. He said he's hoping to make it like a food court at the mall or a place to settle the age-old question of "what's for dinner?"
"Everybody in the family can get something different," King said.
King said people can stay current with what's happening and who's serving food by following the Food Truck Park on its Facebook and Instagram pages.