Hollywood Diner to anchor new food-truck park

The long-struggling Hollywood Diner, the '50s-style prefabricated restaurant built for the Barry Levinson film "Diner" that has failed to remain open as a stand-alone business, will be part of a new food truck park from the organizers of The Gathering.

Several trucks will be parked outside the diner for lunch and dinner service, and patrons will be allowed to use the booths and counter inside the diner to eat. During the Sunday farmers market under the nearby I-83 overpass, the diner will turn into a brunch bar, serving mimosas, bloody marys, and other alcoholic drinks, with a portion of the proceeds going to nonprofits.

Damian Bohager, organizer of The Gathering, said the city has been working in recent weeks to clean up the Hollywood Diner, which it owns, and that the project, called the Hollywood Diner Backlot Food Truck Park, should be open in a few weeks.

There will be a soft opening, with the bar outside the diner, this Sunday at 9 a.m., featuring music from Dangerously Delicious Pies' Rodney Henry.

In the spring and summer months, Bohager said he hopes to have regular weekend festivals focusing on local food, beer, and music that will "bring in people from other parts of the city to what's kind of a no-man's land."

Establishing a regular place for dinner service should also help the trucks, he said, since many realize they "can't really make it on just lunches."

That, of course, is why The Gathering has thrived since it started in 2011. While the food truck rally will continue to move to different parts of the city, Bohager said the new park will serve as its home base.

But customers who don't want to walk or drive down to the park can have food delivered to them through a deal brokered with the recently acquired OrderUp.

A Kickstarter campaign will be launched soon to help purchase planters and other landscaping to help spruce up the area around the small rectangular diner.

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