Colt state park food trucks

Colt state park food trucks DEFAULT

DEM, food trucks at odds over suspension of park events

A food truck at the 2016 PVDFest in downtown Providence. The Department of Environmental Management is at odds with food truck operators over its decision to cancel some summer events at state parks because the high turnout has been straining park resources.

PROVIDENCE — The organizer of food truck gatherings around Rhode Island is confused by a decision to suspend some events in state parks, saying it will harm small businesses that depend on summer sales. 

“It’s a significant impact, especially when things are finally opening up,” said Eric Weiner, who runs PVD Food Truck Events.  

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says that after facilities in Colt State Park in Bristol were overwhelmed by an event last month, it decided to cancel a pair of dates scheduled for July, when overall visits to state parks are at their highest. 

Weiner said the decision caught him off-guard. He produces 75 food truck events across Rhode Island throughout the warm-weather months, including a flagship event, Food Truck Fridays, which are held in Roger Williams Park in Providence 

The gatherings of 12 to 14 food trucks, as well as live music, in Colt State Park were started on a pilot basis last year and renewed for this year, with additional events added in Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick. The first of the series was held on May 19 and all seemed to go well, said Weiner. 

But a spokesman for the DEM said that even as staff received a number of positive comments, there were problems with parking, with only 197 parking spots and 600 cars arriving for the event. Restrooms also weren’t adequate for the 1,500 people who came out, said Michael Healey. 

“DEM needed to pull Parks and Recreation staff from other needs in the region to manage the event safely,” Healey said in an email. 

The agency raised its concerns with Weiner on the Friday before Memorial Day, telling him that the events were putting a strain on park resources, Weiner said. Because of the short notice, he was allowed to go ahead with the June 2 event, but the July dates were canceled. 

The events may resume in August and September, with the addition of portable toilets or the adoption of other measures to accommodate crowds, Healey said. 

He added that staffing in state parks is part of the challenge. The parks division still has 100 seasonal jobs to fill. 

As part of a separate program, the DEM also allows smaller food truck events, with just one or two trucks, at 14 parks around the state.   

“Hopefully, these events will allow both small businesspeople who have been harmed by the pandemic and park patrons who enjoy food trucks, to benefit,” he said. 

But the fate of a larger event set for Wednesday in Goddard Memorial State Park is unclear. Healey did not address it in his email.  

Weiner says he’s unsure if it will be allowed to go forward. If not, he’ll try to find an alternative location.  

“We're hoping that the voice of the general public that has been incredibly supportive will have an effect — that someone in state government is looking at this and something will shift,” he said. 

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Approved Food Trucks for State Park Program

The following food trucks have been approved to participate in the State Park Food Truck Program. This program enables food trucks to rent daily spaces in a variety of state parks and to serve private parties that have advance approval for their event.

A Mano Pizza & Gelato

Email or call 401-256-1836

Facebook   Instagram or Twitter: @a_mano_pizza


Atomic Blonde Ice Cream

Email or call 401-263-1960

Facebook   Instagram: @atomicblondeicecream


Barbara's Quick Lunch

Email or call 401-418-1174 


Basil & Bunny

Email or call 508-769-4810

Facebook  Website  Instagram: @basilandbunny


Black Dog Donuts 

Email or call 401-206-6707 

Facebook  Website  Instagram: @blackdogdonutsquad


Butterhead Sandwich Company

Email or call 401-855-4986

Facebook  Website  Instagram: @butterheadri


Casa Tia Rosa

Email or call 401-440-8833



Championship Melt

Email or call 401-862-5035

Twitter or Instagram: @championmelt


Chill Bus

Email or call 831-239-6563



Email or call 401-428-3666



Friskie Fries

Email or call 401-241-5137

Facebook  Instagram or Twitter: @FriskieFries


Gnarly Truck

Email or call 603-320-8042

Facebook  Instagram: @gnarlyvinesfarm 


Hawaiian Jim's Shave Ice & Co.

Email or call 401-619-5699

Website  Instagram: @hawaiianjims



Email or call 401-400-1556

Facebook  Website  Twitter or Intagram: @HG80food 



Email or call 914-943-6517

Facebook   Twitter or Instagram: @bowledflavor 


Kay's Ice Cream

Email or call 401-257-9363



Kona Ice of Warwick/East Greenwich

Email or call 401-323-1977

Facebook   Instagram:@konaicewarwickeg


La Costa Lobster and Tacos

Email or call 401-578-2917

Facebook    Twitter or Instagram: @lacostanpt


LuLu's Little Pancakes

Email or call 508-642-1948 


Mickey G's Clam Shack



MOO-Mobile Ice Cream Truck

Email or call 401-316-2931

Facebook Website


Palagi Brother Ice Cream

Email or call 401-359-1408

Facebook  Twitter or Instagram: @palagibros



Email or call 401-206-2362

Facebook  Website


Plouffes Quality Catering

Email or call 401-626-9638

Facebook  Website  Instagram: @Plouffes of Pawtucket 


Poppin Minis RI

Email or call 401-447-0636

Facebook  Instagram: @poppinminisri 


Poppy's Waffles
Email or call 401-265-2066
Facebook   Twitter: @@poppyscorn  Instagram: @poppyswaffles 


Rocket Fine Street Food
Email or call 860-689-5585
Facebook  Twitter or Instagram: @rockettruck

Scoop T's Ice Cream

Email or call 401-787-2012

Instagram: @scooptsicecream 


Spanglish Truck

Email or call 401-499-7220

Facebook  Website  Twitter or Instagram: @spanglishtruck  


Sunnyside on the Street

Email or call 401-309-2746

Facebook  Twitter: @SunnySideRI Instagram: @Sunnysidefoodtruck


Sunset Beach Oysters

Email or call 401-374-5301

Facebook Website


The Hot Potato

Email or call 401-919-3009

Facebook  Instagram: @thehotpotatori 


Twisted T's

Email or call 401-575-3133

Facebook   Twitter: TwistedTs_RI  Instagram: @TwistedTsFoodTruck



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RI Cancels State Park Food Truck Events - UPDATED

Friday, June 04, 2021

GoLocalProv News Team


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Photo: PVD Food Truck Events

The organizers of food truck nights at Colt and Goddard State Parks are saying that the State of Rhode Island this week rescinded its approval for events this summer.

And fans of the food trucks are not too pleased. 

“We had a great night at Colt State Park in Bristol,” said PVD Food Truck Events this week. “But, we also received word from RI State Parks and [the] Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management that due to the popularity of our events at Colt State Park that they are canceling our future events.”


“We hope this decision is not final.  Please have your voice be heard. You can [leave a comment on our page] or contact RI State Parks and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management directly,” PVD Food Truck Events continued. 

Reaction — And Explanation

In April, PVD Food Truck Events organizers touted the return of a full season of offerings, following the pandemic.

The decision by the state this week to cancel what had been six more weeks of scheduled events was not well received by food truck followers. 

“This is is ridiculous,” wrote one Facebook user on the food trucks page. “What about every other event that has ever been held at parks?”

“What about ‘community gatherings’ is wrong in community spaces?” said another Facebook user. “I will send a letter. They work for us, after all. Don’t they?”

Last October, PVD Food Truck Events received support from the state through a $75,000 “Take It Outside” grant from Rhode Island Commerce to help food trucks during the pandemic. 

The funds were to expand into December by providing individual food truck owners with tools and assets that could be used for street service or to participate in collective events later into the season.

Now, the state is pulling the plug on what was supposed to be six more events at the two state parks. 

PVD Food Truck Events shared the rationale they received from DEM. 

"The DEM’s Division of Parks and Recreation has decided to suspend PVD Food Truck Events / FoodTrucksIn’s events at RI state parks this summer due to the increasing impact on park staff, facilities and regular park users," DEM told event organizers.

"These extremely popular events draw large crowds from across the region. The additional pressure on parking areas and open space during the height of the park season is placing a strain on normal operations," DEM continued. 

PVD Food Truck Events, which has over 38,000 people who follow the page, did not respond to request for comment on Thursday. 

RI DEM did not respond to request for comment on the decision. 

Food Trucks Appeal to State

On Friday, PVD Food Trucks Events organizer Eric Weiner responded to GoLocal with the following comment. 

At the moment we are focused on our next scheduled event on June 9th at Goddard State Park.  

We have 12-14 food trucks scheduled to attend.  Each are locally owned small businesses and they are relying on that revenue that cannot be easily replaced.  We also have contracted a local Warwick band that had their last event with us rained out.  

We are still hopeful that DEM can come up with a reasonable solution so that we can continue at Goddard and Colt. In the meantime we are also actively looking for alternate locations close to the originally scheduled events so that the community looking forward to attending our free events does not miss out.

We were thrilled to produce during the state's Take It Outside campaign at Colt State Park last year.  These events were well received by everyone.  The events that we are producing this year are made up of the same components and are expecting the same size crowds.  We are looking forward to coming up with a solution to maintain the previously scheduled events.

Original story published Friday June 4 7:05 AM

Updated Friday June 4 10:15 AM


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