City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot

Cambridge Food Truck Pilot

The City of Cambridge Food Truck Pilot is designed to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for food truck operators, create more diverse food options in targeted areas, and bring additional street level amenities to Cambridge public spaces.

The Food Truck Pilot will provide access to select public vending locations for food truck operators who are fully permitted and licensed in the City of Cambridge. 

Special consideration will be given to women and minority-owned businesses, businesses operated by Cambridge residents, new businesses (2 years old and under), and businesses without a brick-and-mortar restaurant operation. 

The Food Truck Pilot encourages independent and locally-owned food business operators to test their concepts in the Cambridge market through food truck vending in select public spaces and times.

Interested food truck operators can learn how to apply here.

Locations & Scheduling 

After receiving applications from food truck vendors, an internal review committee will vet and schedule trucks across all locations. To help determine scheduling at high-demand locations, the public is invited to vote in the People's Choice Poll, which will open in late January 2018. Vendor schedules for each shift detailed below will be announced in March 2018.

Food trucks will be operating at the following times and locations from April 2018 through October 2018:

 Location  Time of Day    Number of Trucks  
(Sidney Street at Erie Street)
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
 Central Square / City Hall
(795 Massachusetts Avenue)
Weekend Nights
8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Thursday - Saturday
 North Point
(Education Street, adjacent to North Point Park)
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday

Note: active vending time will be shorter, allowing for at least 30 minutes for set up and breakdown at the beginning and end of each shift

Additional Location Notes

  • Public locations cannot support live or recorded music brought by truck operators.
  • No alcohol may be served at public locations.
  • Public locations have been chosen for their proximity to ample public seating. As such, public locations cannot support additional seating brought by truck operators.
  • Truck operators interested in hosting programming such as live music, children's entertainment, or other activities should contact CDD staff in the Economic Development Division for information about how to obtain a Special Event permit or other one-time licenses.

Program Research & Outreach

Staff in CDD's Economic Development Division have spent over a year researching and developing the Food Truck Pilot, a process that has included testing locations and shift fees and engaging stakeholder groups (food truck operators, brick-and-mortar restaurants and other members of the community) in conversations about locations and scheduling.

The following timeline details past outreach items of note and upcoming opportunities to engage with the Food Truck Pilot process. 

March 2017 - Begin research into food truck best practices in municipalities and identify possible vending sites in Cambridge

May 2017 - Broad feedback collected from 8 trucks via phone interviews. Sites and shift times adjusted. 

June 2017 - Fees and process set after discussions with various City Departments.

August 2017 - In-person visits and presentations to neighborhood business associations. Feedback gathered. Detailed feedback collected from 20+ trucks via phone interviews. Site times adjusted. 

September 2017- In-person visits to restaurants and cafes abutting locations. Additional in-person visits and phone calls to business associations (i.e. those not hosing sites such as Harvard Square). Pilot fees and process finalized.

October 2017 - Resident notices delivered to locations with high resident populations abutting location (e.g. Central Square/City Hall)

November 2017 - Info session for food truck operators (City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway)

January 2018 - People's Choice Poll opens and is slated to close mid-February 2018.

February 2018 - Info session for residents and food truck fans (Monday, February 5th, City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, Economic Development Division Conference Room (4th Floor)

April 2018 - Pilot launches. Vending begins.

July 2018 - Mid-season feedback session (tentative location, 344 Broadway, City Hall Annex or Cambridge Public Library). 

October 2018 - End-of-season feedback gathered via electronic and paper surveys.

Additional Resources

Food Truck Pilot Guidelines for Vendors

Food Truck Pilot FAQs for Residents and Area Businesses

General Information about Food Truck Vending in Cambridge

For More Information

Food truck operators interested in participating in the program and community members interested in learning more should contact Christina DiLisio, or 617/349-4601