Photo by Max Cooper
No matter where she works, former English teacher Ashley Teran makes creativity a priority. “I was known as the crazy, creative teacher,” she says, recalling the giant papier-mache trees and other decorations she built to inspire her students.
Now, as a food truck owner, she hopes her spirit of invention will come in handy. Space limitations challenge Asheville's mobile vendors as the industry grows.
This week, Ashley and her husband, Nestor, will launch Smash Box, a concession trailer that will serve updated pan-Latin dishes inspired by Nestor's Nicaraguan heritage. They began their culinary enterprise as caterers and event planners. “These are some of the things that best highlight our catering menu,” Nestor says. He recommends his fish tacos, which he describes as “the full package — they've got everything from crunch to freshness.”
But unlike many of Asheville's food trucks, Smash Box won't set up at The Lot on Coxe Avenue or in downtown locations — at least, not yet. Food trucks have reached their lawful capacity downtown. Currently, the city permits 10 food trucks to operate within the Central Business District, and the ones at The Lot already hold the available permits.
Smash Box won't serve food downtown until the city increases the number of permits, but the Terans have found other locations. (The city has different vending rules outside of the CBD.) “Although we may not get a permit for The Lot this year, we still have many other opportunities to be somewhere,” Ashley says.
Look for Smash Box at The Odditorium on Haywood Road, Highland Brewing on the east side, Apple Tree Honda in Fletcher and Stanley Citgo gas station in Woodfin, near Ingles and I-26.
“We're constantly looking for more locations,” Nestor says. While he hopes to get a permit for downtown in the future — and the frontage it affords — he's counting on the Internet to help him spread the word about Smash Box's whereabouts. “The good thing is, through social media and word of mouth, people are going to be able to find us,” he says.
Smash Box's grand opening takes place on Saturday, March 2, at The Odditorium. The Terans will set up for lunch from about 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the truck’s Facebook page or smasheventsinc.com/smashBox.
More food truck permits could be on the way. The Downtown Commission will discuss food truck regulations at its monthly meeting, which takes place on Friday, March 8, at 8:30 a.m. in the First Floor North Conference Room of City Hall. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, contact chairman Bruce Hazzard at firstname.lastname@example.org.