FREMONT -- Food trucks will set up shop near City Hall on Friday evening, kicking off the mobile meals' new location and injecting life -- city officials hope -- into the proposed downtown area.
The Food Truck Mafia, in partnership with the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, will serve gourmet dishes from 10 trucks parked along Capitol Avenue, between State and Liberty streets. The event, called Fremont Street Eats, is scheduled to run from 4:30 to 9 p.m., offering Indian, Mexican, Thai and Hong Kong-style cuisine, as well as gourmet versions of pizza, Philly cheesesteaks and desserts.
The inaugural event will include a "first bite" ceremony, in lieu of a traditional ribbon cutting, and will feature games for kids and a live performance by Jukebox Heroes, a local rock band.
Fremont Street Eats will be held at its new location each Friday evening, said April Bibbins, Food Truck Mafia's event coordinator.
The weekly gatherings previously were held next to the Mission Valley ROP campus, two miles west of City Hall. But city and chamber officials asked the Fremont-based food truck company to move downtown, with the goal of getting people in the habit of going there, Bibbins said.
"We want to help any way we can to help Fremont create new things," she said.
The proposed downtown is a 110-acre area near the Fremont BART station. City Hall stands in the middle of the zone, which will be situated between Fremont Boulevard and Paseo Padre Parkway, and between Mowry and Walnut avenues.
Physical changes to the area have begun, including last year's opening of Sprouts Farmers Market, a health grocery store. Construction of Paragon at Downtown, offering 300 apartments and retail, soon will be completed between Walnut and Beacon avenues and Liberty and California streets. Construction of Whole Foods Market at the intersection of Paseo Padre Parkway and Mowry Avenue is expected to finish by early autumn.
City officials expect those new developments to attract Tri-City residents, altering their shopping habits. Changing their perceptions might be more challenging -- hence, the food trucks.
"We've talked about holding more events to get more people down there because we've heard people say they don't think of it as a place for dining and entertainment," said Cindy Bonior, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. "So it's about re-educating people about the area."
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.
WHAT: Fremont Street Eats food trucks
WHEN: 4:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays, through Oct. 25
WHERE: Capitol Avenue, between State and Liberty streets, Fremont