Boston's love of food trucks has driven the city to a new frontier - dinner time.
The city's first weekly evening food truck program, Boston StrEATS, launches Thursday at Franklin Square in the South End, where eight popular local food trucks will operate from 5-9 p.m.
Organizers put the pedal to the metal two weeks ago, when the idea started gaining traction with city officials.
Local food truck popularity has boomed in recent years, which begs the question: If cities like Miami, Los Angeles, and even Ann Arbor already boast evening food truck programs, why is Boston just now catching up?
"There has been a lot of activity around food trucks in the last few years, but I think Boston just hadn't gotten to it yet," said says Anne-Marie Aigner, founder of Food Truck Festivals of New England, the producer of Boston StrEATS.
The participating trucks in Boston StrEATS include:
The Chubby Chickpea
M & M BBQ Ribs
Captain Marden’s Cod Squad
The Pasta Pot
Evan's NY Style Deli Food Truck
The Taco Truck
Aigner hopes the program will expand to include more trucks in coming months, and said she is open to the idea of possibly adding another location to the mix.
"People are looking for new things to do, and I think this will be a big winner. As long as the weather holds up and the foodies show up, we'll keep it going," said Aigner. "We do also hope to offer a beer and wine garden, but we thought we'd walk before we run."
Eclectic food options and free music aren't the only draws, according to Avi Shemtov, owner of The Chubby Chickpea, one of the program's featured trucks.
"Typically in Boston, dinner has not really been a busy food truck time," said Shemtov. "But having a handful of trucks in one place turns it into a destination more than an event, which is something that people are clamoring for; not just having a bite."