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9 Mile Garden’s 2022 Season Begins March 1 | Food & Drink News | St. Louis | St. Louis News and Events

Food truck fans can usher in 9 Mile Garden's 2022 season on March 1. - COURTESY OF 9 MILE GARDEN

  • Food truck fans can usher in 9 Mile Garden’s 2022 season on March 1.

The trees have yet to sprout, temperatures are still miserably low and there isn’t a robin in sight, yet 9 Mile Garden (9375 Gravois Road, Affton; 314-390-2806) is giving us hope that winter will soon loosen its frigid grip on our fair city. The area’s first and only food truck park announced yesterday that it will open its 2022 season on March 1, featuring new trucks, special events, live music and a lineup of festivities sure to entertain all ages.

The 2022 launch marks 9 Mile Garden’s third season, and this year promises to be its best yet. The park will feature a rotation of over 30 unique trucks, with lineups announced weekly via social media. The garden will be open seven days a week; trucks will serve lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 until 9 p.m. Brunch will be available on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Canteen, 9 Mile Garden’s inside drinking establishment, is open until roughly midnight, though as managing partner Brian Hardesty explains, he is excited to give people reasons to stay even later.

“If need be, we’d be open until 1:30 [a.m.],” Hardesty says. “We’re trying to build a lineup of things for adults to do from 9 p.m. until close that are either free or ticketed events, whether that’s a DJ or a touring comedy act. We do live music three times a week, and we want people to know that we are a pretty versatile place.”

Though the food truck element is what 9 Mile Garden is best known for, Hardesty’s goal for the upcoming season is to host a variety of experiences that go beyond drinking and noshing. In addition to live music and comedy, he is also excited about putting on farmers and makers markets, trivia nights, movie screenings and recreational options like pickleball, washers and cornhole.

However, Hardesty knows the trucks are the park’s major draw, and to that end, he has curated a diverse lineup of offerings that range from established brands to newcomers. This season, hungry diners can expect delicious eats from trucks such as Doggie Mac’s, Red Dirt Revival, Clara B’s, Guerrilla Street Food, Farmtruk, Truckeria Del Valle and many more.

“There are a couple of different reasons we build the lineup the way we do,” Hardesty says. “First, we base it on the quality of the truck, and second, we like to keep it fresh and new. Every year, a dozen or more food trucks start up in the area, and we want to give them a space to grow and build their audience. About a third or so of our lineup this season is trucks that have never been here before, which is exciting. They are happy to be here and step out of their trucks to talk with the veterans who have been her from the beginning. It helps out everybody, which is super cool to see.”

Hardesty also hopes this year will see a consistent lineup of trucks, something he admits has been a challenge due to pandemic-related staffing issues. He understands there have been times when people have tried to come for a particular truck, only to find that brand unable to be there because they have no one to work. He’s optimistic that he and his team have figured out ways to fix that.

“Staffing issues were a problem last year, but this year, we feel like we have diagnosed why and solved that problem,” Hardesty says. “People can expect a consistent lineup, and trucks that are scheduled to be there will be there.”

Reflecting on the past two-and-a-half years of 9 Mile Garden’s existence, Hardesty is proud of what he and his team have created and looks forward to seeing the park continue to grow and evolve. A veteran truck operator himself (Hardesty co-owns Guerrilla Street food with his friend and business partner, Joel Crespo), he can’t help but think back on the early days of the city’s food truck scene and how much it has grown into a thriving phenomenon — one that 9 Mile Garden has undoubtedly had a hand in cultivating.

“Before, trucks would just serve lunch and do food festivals and events at parks,” Hardesty says. “To see this idea come to fruition is really exciting.”

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