An Off The Grid street-food gathering at Fort Mason, San Francisco. Photo: Off The Grid

A total of eight food trucks will be working Berkeley’s inaugural Off The Grid street-food event tomorrow night in the Gourmet Ghetto, and four of them are East Bay based vendors.

Joining the four who signed up earlyCupkatesLiba FalafelHapa SF and The Taco Guys — will be Skylite Snowballs, 510 Burger, Fins on the Hoof and Brass Knuckle.

Berkeley’s Skylite Snowballs launched in September last year, the brainchild of Katie Baum who pined for the Baltimore-style snowballs of her childhood. Her powder-blue truck can often be seen around the East Bay, including in front of Star Grocery on Claremont Avenue.

Skylite Snowballs will be at Berkeley’s Off The Grid

As its name implies, Oakland-based 510 Burger turns out artisan burgers and sandwiches, and, like most Off The Grid vendors, favors locally sourced ingredients.

The menu at Fins on the Hoof, which made its debut last week at Off The Grid San Francisco, might include fried oyster B.L.T., Chimay-braised short rib sandwich, or smoked haddock chowder.

Meanwhile Shellie, owner of Brass Knuckle, describes her offerings as “high-end sandwiches and comfort food”.

Despite the weather forecast for Wednesday night — which signals umbrellas might be in order — Off The Grid organizer Matt Cohen is optimistic the Berkeley debut will go well. “Rain is part of the territory,” he said. “Come out and have fun.”

Cohen describes tomorrow’s event as a soft launch — the Off The Grid food truck will be there, for example, but unlikely to be in use. The plan for future weeks is for a local bricks-and-mortar chef to to use the truck to whip up some street eats of his or her own.

Every week will see a rotation of trucks, with an emphasis on East Bay vendors and gourmet fare. Off The Grid will take place every Wednesday, 5-9pm, in the Farmers Market space on Shattuck and Rose.

Off The Grid to launch weekly street-food event in Berkeley [05.17.11]
Why does the street food scene bypass Berkeley? [10.18.10]
New street food: Berkeley does Baltimore, on ice [09.06.10]
Those craving Cupkates, take note [11.19.09]

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Empty struggling stores are exactly why we need these types of events. Our business increased 20% during the event. Time for you to sit it out and let us brain-dead next gen ‘plagues’ have a say for once.

  2. Just a heads up, there was a pickpocket working the crowd tonight … Ladies, please mind your purses hanging open behind you when sitting down in the median or standing in line.  Your wallet is likely to take a walk.

  3. Hamburgers and cupcakes were gone at 6:30, big deal.  There was lots of great stuff–ham and swiss on a pressed waffle, bacon-wrapped hotdogs, the best falafel I’ve had in the bay area (which isn’t saying much but it was very good).  The lines were very long though.

  4. We enjoyed ourselves. Had a long wait for our food, but it was worth it! I asked one of the Off the Grid people where The Taco Guys were and he said they expected rain, so had fewer trucks come out. Next time theree will be more trucks, so hopefully less waiting.

  5. The North Shattuck Food Truck night was great. A large, enthusiastic crowd spilled over into neighborhood businesses which were also filled. According to Matthew Cohen of Off the Grid, this was a “soft” opening. There will be more trucks there next week and he hopes to hold events at other locations in Berkeley. The food truck folk were shocked by the overwhelming response, and some sold out early. An event that simply uses the street to let people gather, eat and socialize is worth replicating in other neighborhoods. I hope other Council members champion this cause in their neighborhoods as the Councilmembers and businesses for this area did. I’ll get their a little earlier next week to get a Cupkate! A great community event.

  6. ahum too bad there were only 4 savory trucks and that 2 ran out of food by 6:30….kind of a bust…off the grid…off my stomach.

  7. The value of Off the Grid for local businesses is bringing in new audiences and foot traffic to discover their commercial districts, shop around while there, try something new, or become inspired to come back another day. It is an opportunity for local businesses to market themselves to fresh eyes. The number of foodie followers that will travel for Off the Grid and these food trucks is staggering. OTG will go where there is community support, naturally, working with welcoming neighborhood businesses and merchants’ associations who see this value. You’re right that South Berkeley and the Arts District could very much benefit from these sorts of food trucks, with entrepreneurial, emerging chefs, small businesses and good ingredient sourcing. It’s not easy to pull something like this off – North Berkeley gets to
    have Off the Grid trucks tonight due to the hard work and partnership of the North
    Shattuck Association.

  8. I just don’t understand why we need outside food vendors in the Gourmet Ghetto? WTF?! Why not put this sort of event in a district that needs great food, like the Art’s District or Telegraph Ave or South Berkeley’s Adeline corridor? The commercial rents in North Berkeley neighborhood are obscenely high, the vacancy rate is skyrocketing with more and more empty stores, we can’t get any new businesses in that aren’t food and booze related no matter how much we need variety, and now some idiot thinks the local merchants need more fast food competition? This is a perfect example of the brain-dead sort of business intelligence that chronically plagues this (my) city!!