Meals on wheels
As they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. It’s hard to think of a better place to wheel in a food truck park and bar than the one Ricardo Ortiz chose for the upcoming 88 Social.
When Ortiz noticed the lot available at 1009 Avenue B, he quickly snapped it up. After all, it is just a hop from the River Walk and the landmark VFW Post 76, and easily accessible from Pearl and downtown. The entrepreneur tells CultureMap that he is days away from groundbreaking in anticipation of a late August or early September opening.
The impetus for the project wasn’t just about finding the right property at the right time. Ortiz conceived 88 Social to be a tribute to his late brother, Armando, a fixture of San Antonio’s service industry and who had dreams of opening his own bar. The name is a reference to his brother's birth year and just happens to be located in the same neighborhood where Armando lived.
The food truck park will keep that spirit of entrepreneurship. Ortiz says he aims to make the operational costs low so small business owners can thrive along with the park.
“With lots of food truck parks in Austin and other major cities, rents are outrageous,” explains Ortiz. “There’s enough opportunity to go around for everyone.”
Ortiz says he has 30 perspective vendors in line for the rotating slots but would only tease a few slated for the opening lineup, including healthy Austin import Quick Fix Cuisine, Puerto Rican truck Ay Papi’s, and Cilantro Mexican Fusion.
The bar — housed in a former shipping container — is almost all mapped out, and Ortiz says it will carry up to 24 craft beers on draft and serve a few classic cocktails like Old Fashioneds, frozen drinks, and cocktails made with Quick Fix fresh juices, all suitable for the Alamo City’s scorching weather.
Misters and cooling fans will help with the heat, too. And after debuting, Ortiz plans to add an upper level deck with waterproof sunshades.
The space isn’t intended to be solely practical, however. The busy developer wants 88 Social to be a celebration of Mexican culture. He is working with local artists to paint the shipping container and fences, and Ortiz says he hopes to scatter sculpture and metal work throughout the park.
Once completed, the park is poised to be popular with office lunchers, families, and night time revelers. Undoubtedly, it would have made Ortiz’s brother proud.