Lynne Schelly stood in line for nearly 40 minutes Tuesday to snag a grilled cheese sandwich from the Static Melt food truck.

She didn’t mind the wait, however.

“My kids and I have been talking about this for months ... that the Quad-Cities needed something like this,” she said. “Being in line for a little while is worth it.”

The first of four scheduled “Food Truck Tuesdays,” featuring Streets of Italy Pizza, La Flama and Static Melt, arrived at Kaiserslautern Square on East 3rd Street in downtown Davenport. 

It was the first time vendors were permitted to serve curbside on public property, as part of the city of Davenport’s food truck pilot program.

City ordinances don’t allow food trucks to set up in the public right-of-way, but Mallory Merritt, the city’s budget management analyst, is aiming to change that. In total, she said nine vendors signed up to take part in the pilot program. 

"The whole goal was to get people out of their offices and out of their houses to enjoy the downtown and enjoy different food trucks,” Merritt said. "We've come a long way with our research. Now, we're putting it to the test."

Merritt and Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership with the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, said they’ll work together on drafting a permanent food truck ordinance over the winter.

For Carter, the long lines — which held steady from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday — signal that the downtown is ready for food trucks on public property.

"It goes to show that the sooner we get an ordinance presented, the better," he said. “People are happy this is happening."

Tuesday's test run exceeded Chad Cushman’s expectations.

"This is just a phenomenal turnout," said Cushman, who sells crepes on-the-go style as The Crepe Guy. "This was the vision. Look around — I don't think we'd have this crowd with one truck by itself.”

And, Mike Schaefer, who co-owns Streets of Italy, said "the cluster effect" makes for good business.

"I wasn't expecting this amount of people because it's so new," he said. "It's different than having one vendor parking on a street corner alone."

Food truck Tuesdays are set to continue each week in September at lunch and dinner times at specified zones downtown.

Schelly and her daughter, Brooke, say they won't miss a food truck Tuesday this month.  

“It's a food truck rally, and it's finally here,” Brooke Schelly said. “Before today, every food truck had different schedules and were spread out so you had to work to find them.

"It's exciting to have them here together, and it's just a starting point."


Amanda Hancock is a reporter covering food, arts and entertainment in the Quad-Cities (and beyond).