Greenway Food Truck Program brings local business back to the heart of Boston


Revelry has been serving Boston residents since 2016, but only recently found a spot on the Greenway after doing an event at Trillium Garden. Photo credit Amelia Ballingall.

Amelia Ballingall, news correspondent

For the past 13 years, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a public park that stretches from the North End to Chinatown, has hosted a wide array of local food trucks to support Boston’s small businesses and provide diverse dining options to residents throughout the spring and summer. This year, the Greenway has partnered with 25 food trucks with cuisines ranging from Korean to Mediterranean to Indian. The season began April 1 at the Dewey Square and Rowes Wharf locations and will expand along the Greenway in the coming weeks.

The Greenway is a popular location for vendors and customers alike, and typically brings heavy traffic to downtown Boston each year. As Boston relaxes its COVID restrictions, many look forward to the 2022 food truck season.

“We’re excited to be in the Greenway this year because I think it’s going to be the year things start to come back. People going back to the office, people going back to work, not working from home, and I think a lot of the things people are going to be looking for is places to eat. We’re looking to try to make that more accessible by even cutting out having to go in somewhere to get it,” said Brian Reidy, founder and president of North American Catering, or NAC.

2022 will be NAC’s first year on the Greenway, serving both breakfast and lunch along the 1.5 mile park. After starting the company in 2016 and spending the past six years at breweries across eastern Massachusetts, Reidy looks forward to finally centralizing himself in the city. 

“We are expecting to see the kind of return to what it used to be so we’re trying to be in the area as much as possible,” Reidy said.

Facing heavy competition from larger breakfast chains, NAC has integrated larger restaurant accommodations into its truck, offering online ordering and scheduled pick-up times along with its usual window service. 

NAC is not the only new food truck on the Greenway this year; the program added two more companies to its schedule, further diversifying its portfolio.

“Of the 25 businesses, 64% identify as women, veteran or minority owned and represent over 12 unique cuisines,” the Rose Kennedy Greenway wrote in a press release

With each new business on the Greenway comes a new perspective. The vendors’ wide range of backgrounds gives Bostonians a taste of places and cultures around the world. 

“Being from New Orleans, it’s kind of like bringing the whole vibe of life in New Orleans to people. Not just bringing the food, but bringing that New Orleans spirit and fun,” said Brian Ledet, chef and owner of Revelry, a food truck serving Creole and Cajun style food for lunch and dinner. 

Revelry has been serving Boston residents since 2016, but only recently found a spot on the Greenway after doing an event at Trillium Garden, which is located in the Financial District area of the park. 

The past two pandemic years have slowed foot traffic throughout downtown Boston and the food truck industry has suffered. Despite the difficulties, however, many Greenway partners have stayed strong.

“It’s been good to work with the Greenway because they’ve been a good partner in helping to promote food trucks and it’s provided us with a stable spot, which can always be a little bit of a challenge with food trucks,” said Patrick Lynch, co-founder and CEO of Bon Me, a truck serving Asian-inspired eats to the city of Boston, “We’ve hung on for a long time these past two years with pretty slow business just with the hopes that things would come back eventually.”

Bon Me found a home in Dewey Square in October 2011 after winning a local food truck competition and has remained there ever since. The food truck’s original focus on Vietnamese cuisine has since broadened to include a wider representation of East Asia.

The many food trucks located up and down the Greenway this season are hoping not only to bring their unique flavor to the area, but also to bring back the life and spirit that filled it just two years ago. 

“We’d like that to return back to Boston, that energy. We’d really like to see that happen again and put a lot of this behind us,” Reidy said.

For many of these small businesses, the pandemic gave them a new outlook on the food truck industry. Some worked with local charities, others participated in corporate catering, and still others restructured their companies. 

“It kind of gave me an opportunity just to sit back and rethink about my approach to things,” Ledet said, “I looked at it as an opportunity to kind of restructure. I feel a lot better about the business and I’m really excited coming into this post-COVID world.”

Despite COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in Boston, the hustle and bustle of downtown is not where it used to be. However, with its diverse food selection outdoors, especially as the weather gets warmer, the Greenway Food Truck Program hopes to bring promise to the area. Although only a few trucks are out right now, the full array will be available at the Greenway Food Truck Festival on May 7. 

“Our hope is really by the spring we’ll see people coming back downtown and the food trucks picking up a lot,” Lynch said.