Graphic courtesy of Patrick Donlin.

The only thing better than a food truck is a food truck park, and that’s exactly what one resident plans to open in the neighborhood this spring.

Chuckwagon Park will debut with three food trucks and plenty of outdoor seating when it opens at 1716 N. Hall St. in early March.

The park is the brainchild of Lakewood Heights developer Patrick Donlin, who saves homes from the wrecking ball by restoring them as rental properties. His company, Mr. D Real Estate Group, is located on Hall Street next to the proposed food truck site. Donlin noticed the empty outdoor area and wanted to turn it into usable space for the neighborhood.

“With COVID, it’s hard to find good things to do, and outdoor seating is at a premium,” Donlin said. “But in Dallas, there’s not a lot of space for an outdoor venue. We had space at the office, and we wanted to put three or four restaurants in an outdoor setting that is socially distant.”

His team contacted food truck vendors at Klyde Warren Park. Business had dropped because of the reduced workforce in the downtown offices at lunchtime, and vendors were open to operating in a residential area where customers could dine on nights and weekends.

Donlin is still finalizing the food trucks, but he says they will sell a range of food, including sliders, barbecue and hibachi.

“Every day we just added to the idea and thought, ‘This is going to work. It’s going to be cool,'” Donlin said.

Photography courtesy of Patrick Donlin.

The park will be located on about 20,000 square feet of space and will accommodate 50-100 people, depending on how far guests spread out. It will be decorated with recycled materials from Donlin’s other restoration projects. One such project yielded 20 pews from an East Dallas church that Donlin plans on moving to Chuckwagon Park.

“We’re going to repurpose as much as we can to keep the historical significance,” Donlin said. “We’re trying to do this with all features from the neighborhood and make it personality driven. It will be quirky, and it will add to the personality of the neighborhood. That’s what we’re going for.”

A local artist is scheduled to paint a mural at the food truck park next week. Donlin also plans on hosting pop-up vendors and performers in the future.

The park is named after the wagon that was once used to store, transport and produce food on cattle drives.

“They are a cool thing unique to Texas and the West,” Donlin said. “Chuckwagons were the original food trucks.”

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