Openings and Closings

Hurricane Alley's Chowder Truck-N-Snack Shack Plans Fall Grand Opening

After five years searching for the perfect location to open a second establishment, Boynton Beach's Hurricane Alley owner Kim Kelly decided to consider purchasing a food truck instead. Her husband, Burt Garnsey — now her partner in the new venture — wasn't sure she'd actually do it.

"But when I came home with a truck a few weeks later, I guess he realized I was serious," says Kelly, who opened Hurricane Alley in 1996. The space was once home to a family-style restaurant that served soda pop, milkshakes, and candy and later sat vacant for close to a decade before Kelly took over.

Kelly says her success as a destination location led her to develop a second concept she named Barnacles, what would be a smaller, Caribbean-themed joint with a Latin flare. When plans to take over the former Little House space at 480 E. Ocean Ave. fell through in 2010, she considered bringing her concept to nearby cities, including Lantana.

"I spent five years trying to find the right space, but rents were too expensive; parking requirements were unreasonable. It was too much of a risk," says Kelly. "A food truck seemed like a perfect option."

Now, Kelly is working with Boynton Beach to make the city more food-truck-friendly. After purchasing a truck six months ago, she's fought tirelessly to find a home for Chowder Truck-n-Snack Shack, as well as other daytime operating food trucks she hopes will join her when she begins serving later this fall. Talks with Boynton Beach's Tacos Veracruz are already underway, she says.

Recently, the City Commission approved a space at 601 S. Federal Highway, a vacant lot where Kelly plans to operate her truck permanently and hold daytime hours. Rather than host nightly events or roundups, the truck will begin serving lunch — and later breakfast — from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The idea, adds Kelly, is to create a family-friendly outdoor environment with a covered seating area, picnic tables, games, and even a professional volleyball court.

"I'd like it to be like a food-truck courtyard, the first of its kind here in Palm Beach County," says Kelly. "An outdoor place where people can hang out, have fun, and relax."

Chowder Truck-n-Snack Shack will serve many of the same dishes she once planned for Barnacles, a short menu that includes soups and chowders as well as fresh guacamole, nachos, mac-n-cheese, and grillers (bigger than a slider but smaller than a traditional sandwich).

Keep an eye out for a special menu item known as "garbage fries" — what Kelly says was inspired after a city commissioner likened food trucks to garbage trucks. The dish has already received a lot of attention at the Brew at the Zoo event she attended several weeks ago: seasoned waffle fries loaded with jalapeños, melted cheese, bacon, sour cream, tomatoes, guacamole, and a spicy "boom boom" sauce.

Chowder Truck-n-Snack Shack is slated to open unofficially in September. If all goes according to plan, Kelly says she hopes to host a grand opening event in October with several food trucks, a volleyball tournament, and live music.

For now, find Chowder Truck-n-Snack Shack at the final Food Truck Safari event at the Palm Beach Zoo, where Kelly will be serving from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 22.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna