Construction at the nearby Superblock on Riverside Boulevard has displaced...

Construction at the nearby Superblock on Riverside Boulevard has displaced boardwalk food trucks for the foreseeable future. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The Long Beach food trucks, a summer staple of the boardwalk since Superstorm Sandy, have become a casualty of construction projects on the Superblock property.

And work on new apartments and condos next to the parking lot used by the trucks could last for the next few years, city officials have said. 

The accompanying noise, dust and debris will not be conducive to food trucks, they said.

Several business owners and residents in the area said the food trucks, collectively known as “Shoregasboard,” stood as refuge for beachgoers looking for a bite or cool beverages. The trucks were also an attempt by Long Beach to revive the city and attract visitors to the boardwalk after Sandy. But it is now a hub of construction equipment and portable toilets.

“I think everyone was excited about the different culinary options and now everyone’s left scrambling on how they will earn a living,” said Michael Wachs, who ran Amanda Bananas, a food truck he opened last summer selling frozen bananas. “And people in Long Beach are scrambling for where they’re going to eat this summer."

Riverside Boulevard is under construction to lay a new water and sewer line for developer Engel Burman’s plan to build 438 oceanfront apartments and condos facing the boardwalk. Heavy construction equipment is pile driving the foundation for the super block next to the parking lot.

The parking lot, at the end of Riverside Boulevard, and where nearly a dozen food trucks parked around picnic tables, will be unavailable for the foreseeable future, according to Long Beach officials.

The October 2012 storm whipped up a tidal surge that destroyed the boardwalk, which was eventually rebuilt with $42 million in federal funds. Sandy caused $150 million in damage to the city’s infrastructure.

Long Beach officials said they notified each of the food truck operators last summer that their leases were expiring. The city worked with Engel Burman to postpone construction until the end of last summer to avoid hurting business during the busy beach season.

The city wanted to help food truck owners recover following two years of COVID restrictions by postponing construction to this year, said Long Beach Parks Commissioner Joe Brand. The city looked for alternative locations, but could not find anywhere close to the boardwalk to accommodate the food trucks. In addition to open space, several trucks also require hook ups to water and power.

“We told them this area is not going to be available to the food trucks this summer,” Brand said. “We can’t put trucks of that size on the boardwalk and we faced roadblock after roadblock where we could put them, and a place they would be satisfied with the foot traffic.”

Wachs said the construction was just unfortunate timing after he invested in the food truck and will relocate to Island Park.

Other business owners like Maria Jimenez, who bought the long-standing Park Avenue restaurant, Corazon De Cuba, and its companion food truck, a year ago, said her business will struggle without it.

“I’ve been asking and they said they have no space this year,” she said. “It hurts a lot. I’m going to try to see if I can park anywhere else like Lido Beach. it’s understandable for the city, but that was the spot for years and now they just leave us standing.”

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