January 4, 2014 in Washington Voices

Food trucks with taste, personality becoming a staple in Spokane Valley

By The Spokesman-Review
Lisa Leinberger photo

Frank Alberti runs Frank’s Authentic New York Franks at Sprague Avenue and University Road. He uses the same brand of hot dogs sold on the streets of New York City.
(Full-size photo)

It’s a growing trend – food trucks have been pulling up to parking lots and curbs offering everything from doughnuts and ice cream to hot dogs and grilled cheese. Last month in downtown Spokane, a group of food truck owners even held a rally, offering six options.

In Spokane Valley, the trend is starting to pick up too. We visited two vendors recently to see how business was going.

Frank’s Authentic New York Franks, Sprague and University

Frank Alberti has been serving up hot dogs in the parking lot at Sprague Avenue and University Road since June 2003.

“I needed a place people had to slow down or stop,” he said. The corner is perfect for him because he lives close by and the traffic signal keeps drivers at the corner for a minute to notice he’s there.

Bill Creer said he visits once or twice a month. This week, he ordered “two regulars, yellow and brown,” meaning with mustard and sauerkraut.

“I love a simple, quick hot dog,” Creer said.

“I sell the best franks,” Alberti said.

He’s there Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the winter months. In the summer, he extends those hours to 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The franks are authentic – Alberti sells Sabrett Hot Dogs, which have been sold on the streets of New York City since the 1920s.

He likes to make the order simple and quick while he offers friendly banter with his customers. He doesn’t accept credit or debit cards, just cash in order to speed up the process.

“In God I trust,” he said. “All others pay cash.”

Tacos Fiesta Mexicana, Sprague and Pines

Hugo Gonzalez and his wife, Karla Zuniga, have been offering authentic Mexican street food at the corner of Sprague Avenue and Pines Road since November 2012.

They have burritos, tacos, tortas, quesadillas, nachos, tostadas and huaraches, filled with the customer’s choice of beef, chicken, pork or tongue.

Gonzalez said he was surprised by how many customers order the tongue.

The couple moved to the area from Dayton, Wash., just outside of Walla Walla. They opened their truck there in 2011 and were looking for a bigger market.

Gonzalez said his customers usually go for the burritos, which sell for $6 and are fairly large.

“That’s a good price for a burrito,” he said.

Jaquelyn Barrett said she’s visited at least 10 times, ever since she drove by one day and noticed the truck. Her favorite items on the menu are the chicken tacos.

“It’s just made fresh,” Barrett said. “The ingredients are fresh. It’s good food.”

Tacos Fiesta Mexicana is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the winter months. In the summer, they are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They accept cash and credit and debit cards.

Along with the truck, they also offer catering. They can be reached at (509) 386-8418.

“Come and try our food,” Gonzalez said.

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