Here at Tucson Foodie, we cover a lot of food trucks. The more the merrier and as much as we can humanly handle. It’s a tough job but, well, someone has to do it.
Thing is, tracking down food trucks you’ve either heard about, were curious about, or were planning to visit again can sometimes be tricky. Trust us, we know all too well. Not every food truck here in Tucson has a social media account. It sounds crazy but it’s true.
So, how are you going to hunt down that sushi wagon your friend said have the best vegan rolls when they don’t regularly post on Instagram? One option is to drive around town in hopes that you’ll run into that desired truck. That would be insane, though, and a waste of precious, precious fuel.
At random times, a lot of trucks and carts will park on random plots and oftentimes those spots are on the outskirts or miles away from where you are. They totally have that option and will brandish the right to do so like a rambunctious kid playing hide and seek.
Fear not, lover of mobile munchables.
A brand new app-based that originated right here in Tucson is set to launch very soon, and it’s all about locating active food trucks in up-to-date real-time tech.
Truckly is the brainchild of best friends Josh Tornquist and Hamad Marhoon who are no strangers to developing conductive apps. Both computer science and philosophy students at the University of Arizona, Tornquist and Marhoon have created apps to help students with a variety of academic matters, but their real passion and focus is on food. They especially enjoy food that comes via truck.
“As foodies, we all know what it's like to Google ‘food near me’ and get in return the same, boring, overrated places,” said Tornquist. “But what if a Japanese-Italian fusion food truck was just around the corner? You'd have no idea and miss out on some surprisingly amazing food. Which is a foodie sin.”
Truckly works directly with the vendors of food trucks who wisely sign on so there is an up-to-date, by-the-minute detail of when and where they’re located, the hours of operation, and what style of grub they serve.
Chances are you’ve used a food delivery app that allows you to search for the type of cuisine you are craving. All you have to do is type “Greek” and a variety of restaurants pop up to choose from. Truckly works the same way. All you have to do is thumb in “Burgers,” “Vegetarian,” “Kosher,” and zing! A relatable truck will appear on the screen. The only thing left for you to do is get up and get out there.
A big grievance of hunting down food trucks can sometimes be their consistency.
If a truck you were expecting to find in front of a bar or near an event decides to cancel, even though they announced they were going to be there on all of their communication platforms, that real-time deal comes into play.
Here’s a big one: trucks often have issues with flat tires, generators not working, leaky refrigerators, or engines that just disappeared sometime in the night. It happens. That’s why you’ve downloaded Truckly. It lets you know why the barbecue buggy you were looking forward to isn’t at Kino that night.
The external smoker came unhitched and just rolled down Tumamoc Hill. Hey, what are you going to do?
“Truckly is a real-time food truck finder designed for both foodies and vendors in Tucson,” said Tornquist. “Instead of wondering where that one food truck went, or hangrily settling for fast food again, foodies will be able to use Truckly to find the nearest food truck gems to satisfy their tastebuds.”
Tucson is quickly becoming a heavyweight contender in the global food truck octagon. We have the space. We have the UNESCO nod. We have the chops. Most of all, we have the appetite and culinary curiosity to support hard-working cooks and connoisseurs that are in it to make people happy — not a fortune.
Most get into the food industry hoping to open a brick-and-mortar concept. That’s a fine aspiration, if not a heady and financially pugnacious one. A good percentage of food truck operators just want to operate a food truck.
Having met and hung out with a lot of good people that own, work, and cook in a truck, the idea of settling on one location is absurd. Why not be deep in the south side one day, in Marana the next, downtown over the weekend, and a grand opening of a pet store midtown on a Monday? That’s the beauty of operating a food truck and Truckly will be your handheld guide to all things mobile and delicious here in Tucson.
“The best part about Truckly is the variety,” said Tornquist. “There are so many different types of food trucks out there that deserve a tasting. Truckly makes that possible by showing users where they are and what they're serving in real-time. Not through Google. Not through Facebook or Instagram or even Tik Tok. But in real-time. On Truckly.”
Keep a look out in the Apple Store for the official launch of Truckly, which will also be available for Android phones in the near future.
Get excited, Tucson, because here comes Truckly.
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Mark Whittaker began his journalism career in San Francisco around 1997. It was for a small Northern California music magazine that segued into contributing to numerous magazines, websites, newspapers and weeklies throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s. Mark interviewed bands,...