Our newest dining opportunities: Food trucks and IKEA

May 11, 2016 | Uncategorized

Food trucks

Hungry visitors line up for dinner

University City’s dining options continue to grow and diversify. Our latest choices: monthly food trucks rallies in Prosperity Village (the next is May 21) and three restaurants in one at IKEA.

Whether you want to eat fast and shop, enjoy a relaxing family meal, or just kick back with coffee, the newly revamped IKEA restaurant has a place for you.

Organizers of the first Food Truck Rally on April 16 at 10220 Prosperity Park Drive expected a great turnout – maybe as many as 2,000 visitors. They were a little too cautious. “I gave out stickers as a way to count people,” said Theresa Rosa-Corey, with the Prosperity Village Area Association. “By 5:30 we had run out of the 2,000 stickers, and people were still flooding in. We’re estimating about 3,500 people” came to the rally.

Food truck welcomeThe inaugural Food Truck Rally featured 11 vendors. Organizers also talked with nearby restaurants to let them know what was planned. On a crystal-clear evening, the response was overwhelming for both the truck vendors and the restaurants. “Of the 11 trucks participating in the event, all but one ran out of food,” Rosa-Corey reports.

Nearby restaurants in the shopping center across from the rally also told her they had busy nights, including one that reported the best night of the year.

The Prosperity Village food truck rallies will continue on the third Saturday of each month through October, from 4 to 9 pm. Organizers have arranged for 14-15 trucks for the next rally, on May 21, including All-Star Cafe, Mae’s Creole Kitchen, Two Chicks and a Truck and Cremoso Cheesecake Co.

Learn more

IKEA invites you to breakfast, lunch and dinner

IKEA restaurant dishesJust about everyone who visits IKEA ends up in the restaurant at some point, since the typical shopper spends several hours per visit. Now those dining moments may take you extra time, too, thanks to IKEA’s increased focus on its restaurants.

IKEA Charlotte recently introduced its redesigned dining area – actually three dining areas for three types of visitors. One with high tables and barstools is intended for visitors who want to eat quickly and get back to shopping. A second area targets people who want to enjoy their meal and includes activities nearby for the kids. The third area resembles a coffee shop, with soft chairs and couches for visitors who do want to linger and socialize.

Along with dining-area improvements, IKEA also has updated its extensive food offerings both in the restaurant and in its Food Market.

“The restaurant redesign also complements our recently updated menu offerings, which now include a wider variety of nutritious and sustainable food choices as well as menu additions that are produced in a socially responsible manner,” said Camilo Aviles, IKEA’s local marketing specialist.

IKEA is making these changes throughout its 41-store US operation, the Washington Post reported in February. The reason: food sales at IKEA are increasing at nearly double the rate of IKEA stores’ overall sales.

ikea dinersIKEA also has realized that a “significant number” of customers come just to eat, the Washington Post says. IKEA’s updated restaurant menu includes meals such as Veggie Balls with Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans and Seasonal Vegetables, for $4.49.

The menu also accents affordability, such as Kids’ meals for $2.49, and Kids Eat Free Tuesday. And for adults, try the $1 breakfast (eggs, sausage and potatoes), $2 lunch (Organic pasta with tomato sauce) and$3 dinner (Quinoa sweet potato chili with black beans).

Visitors also can shop at the Swedish Food Market, located near the store checkout area. Dozens of frozen items such as salmon and meatballs are available, as well as many mixes, beverages and canned and jarred foods.

Need ideas on how to turn these foods into meals? The IKEA website offers more than 30 recipes from Salmon Casserole to Lingonberry Parfait.

And don’t drive home hungry or thirsty. Just hit the IKEA Bistro on the way out the door for beverages, desserts and, yes, even American hot dogs.

Learn more about IKEA foods and meals

CLICK HERE to start your dining and grocery shopping at IKEA.

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