Off the Grid will open in North Berkeley Sunday

A new Off the Grid will return to North Berkeley after securing a Sunday night spot at the North Berkeley BART station.

Off the Grid — which has organized street-food vendors around the greater Bay Area since 2010 — is partnering with BART and city officials to bring the food trucks to North Berkeley. The trucks will operate from 5 to 8 p.m.

“We have an existing customer base from previously being in North Berkeley,” said Ben Himlan, director of business development at Off the Grid, in an email. The company had a regular setup in the Gourmet Ghetto on Northside, but it was closed in December 2012.    

“We have been actively pursuing a location that can accommodate our needs for a market in this location,” Himlan said.

Owners of the trucks contracted with Off the Grid are excited to get started in North Berkeley.

“Off the Grid is important for a couple reasons but mainly for the huge masses of people — the crowds — that it brings,” said Rob John, owner and founder of WhipOut!, a food truck that serves barbecue favorites. “When I first went into business, I felt like I didn’t want to be part of Off the Grid, but I ended up realizing that it’s almost a necessary thing.”

Jay-Ar Pugao, chef and owner of No Worries, a vegan Filipino-cuisine truck that started as a catering restaurant in 1999, says he welcomes the publicity that participating can give to his catering business.

Councilmember Linda Maio mentions the diversity of the cuisine offered and thinks it will be good for the North Berkeley neighborhood.

“People are looking forward to something that is as dynamic as Off the Grid,” said Maio. “They’ll have a little evening out. And then they’ll get to experience all these different cuisines.”

Jessica Rogness is the assistant blog editor. Contact her at [email protected]rg.