Some of the best-tasting food in the city comes from restaurants on wheels, or what most of us have come to know them as food trucks. From vegan Mexican to Asian fusion, food trucks are a multi-billion-dollar industry, currently outgrowing the traditional restaurant industry. In the era of COVID, keeping food trucks safe and adhering to health and safety codes is crucial. That is where businesses like Diana’s Commissary come in.
The family-owned business has been in operation since 2001. Food truck owners Rafael and Alba Alvarez saw a need to provide cleaning services to food truck owners way before the industry reached its current popularity. The Alvarez’s have since turned over the operations of the commissary to their three children Oscar, Rafael and namesake, Diana.
Most trucks in the beginning were traditional commissary or “lunch trucks.” The family witnessed first-hand the turn of the industry from lunch and taco trucks to elaborate mini-restaurants offering unique and original cuisine. The family itself still operates four Diana’s Food Service Trucks, starting in 1995 and servicing primarily construction and work sites.
As you enter the parking lot of Diana’s Commissary South Post Oak Road, you cannot help but notice the colorfully painted trucks that line the parking lot. There, each restaurant on wheels is prepped for its next trip. The commissary has five wash bays oversized to fit a full-size food truck for daily cleaning and sanitizing. In addition, there is a kitchen prep area that clients can reserve and use for a fee. This kitchen area adheres to city codes and provides a safe sanitary area for clients. On completion of each cleaning, the truck is given a document certifying that the truck has been cleaned and serviced according to health guidelines. On a regular week, the commissary can service 120 to 150 trucks.
Food trucks can be stored on site in the gated parking lot starting at $16 a night. Diana’s Commissary also offers propane tank refills and bulk ice for purchase. These services are open not only to food truck vendors but the public, as well.
This family from El Salvador has seen its share of food truck successes and failures. Her best advice to someone thinking about getting their own food truck: “Invest wisely and be practical in designing the truck. Have a plan of where you are going to go. Give yourself time to grow. Investing everything you have in the truck is a huge mistake. Some trucks can cost as much as a regular restaurant to open.”
While we probably never thought of how each mobile food unit keeps clean, sanitized and up to health code standards, the Alvarez family was way ahead of the trends. The family continues to provide support to a group of small business owners who have taken their flair for food to the streets.
13515 S Post Oak Rd, Houston, TX 77045
Mondays-Saturdays 4:00 a.m. – 5:00pm
Sundays 6:00 a.m. – noon
-by Jessika Leal