The Lacey Food Truck Depot: Building Community One Tasty Plate at a Time


The Lacey Food Truck Depot celebrates foodie entrepreneurs and their unique creations all year round. New this year: The City of Lacey will host Night Market @ the Depot community events every other Friday April through October to spotlight emerging small businesses and tasty start-ups. The first event takes place April 26 from 4 -8 p.m. at the Lacey Depot Park, 5700 Lacey Boulevard SE.

Food Trucks lined up in a gravel area at dusk with string lights overhead
The City of Lacey hosts the Lacey Food Truck Depot year round to celebrate local foodies and chefs who bring delicious food to hungry families. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

The City of Lacey Welcomes Food Trucks and Foodies @ the Depot

Like many of us, Thurston County chefs and restauranteurs had to pivot during the pandemic. Some downsized, others simplified their menus, and dedicated home cooks stepped up to bring in extra income selling Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies or mom’s gooey mac-and-cheese. In every case, opening a food truck can be a great place to start.

Wesley Nguyen, City of Lacey’s economic development coordinator, explains that the Food Truck Depot launched in 2021 and the Market began in 2022. There are typically a half dozen trucks or trailers at the 5700 Lacey Boulevard SE site, but that number can grow to nearly 10 different choices for a meal, snack, drink, or sweet treat during the high-season at the Night Market events.

Hosting trucks at the Food Truck Depot is more than just a great lunch or dinner option. Nguyen says it’s part of the City of Lacey’s goal to really focus on trying to support small businesses, giving them roots so they’ll stay and grow in Lacey.

During COVID-19, says Nguyen, many hobbies became businesses. Lacey helps facilitate them with synergy, which supports innovation. The City of Lacey recently received an economic development award for diversity, equity, and inclusion from the Washington Economic Development Association for the Lacey Food Depot project So, whether your final goal is a bustling food truck or brick and mortar storefront, the City of Lacey’s team is ready and willing to help.

people walking in a field with a lot of pop up tents with vendors selling an assortment of things
In 2024 visit the Lacey Food Truck Depot April through October from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for their Night Market @ the Depot. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Sharing the Table with Community Partners like the Thurston EDC and Lacey MakerSpace

City officials partner with organizations like the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC) to provide permitting support, pathways to opening a small business, tenant improvement assistance, and help with the many nuances of compliance and starting your own company, in this case a food truck.

With the EDC, Lacey recently held two years of business training for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs, says Nguyen, creating an educational model that is now being used by the cities of Olympia and Tumwater when working with local business people.

“The City of Lacey has a goal to support entrepreneurs and small local businesses and help them flourish,” says Nguyen. “Startups and small businesses, especially BIPOC-owned, have various barriers that the City of Lacey stepped in to assist. In the first year of our Food Truck Depot project, there was no cost to park at the City-owned site. In year two, we only charged a nominal fee from the vendors, which reduced costs and allowed entrepreneurs to invest in other parts of their business like growing their enterprise, marketing and promotion, or purchasing high-quality ingredients and other supplies.”

The City of Lacey also works hand-in-hand with the Lacey MakerSpace. Nguyen praises the MakerSpace for helping great ideas become a reality. With expert help, ideas become reality without the high cost of equipment. In fact, the MakerSpace recently received $2 million in funding to expand their footprint and purchase new equipment, says Nguyen, a win/win for our entire region.

Food Trucks lined up in a gravel area
Both the Night Market and Food Truck Depot honor hard-working entrepreneurs. The City of Lacey partners with the Lacey MakerSpace and Thurston Economic Development Council to grow strong, secure businesses for artisans and their families. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Celebrate Fun, Family-Friendly Friday Nights with a Night Market @ the Depot

Every other Friday night from April 26 through October, it’s time for the Night Market @ the Depot. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be food trucks, local artisans, and live music to start your weekend off right. Come for dinner, dessert, a little shopping, or to dance away those sultry summer sunsets.

Potential vendors are always welcome. The City of Lacey is contracting with SWAE Night Market and plenty of space is still available for upcoming sessions. Simply apply online or send questions to to get started and join the fun. Who knows, the Night Market @ the Depot could be just the push that turns a great idea into a passionate career full of opportunity and creativity.

To keep up with all the fun, follow the City of Lacey  on Facebook or check out posts on SWAE’s Facebook and Instagram pages. There’s also a weekly schedule of vendors at the Lacey Food Truck Depot so you can plan meals ahead of time. To potentially add your truck to the site, contact Wesley Nguyen at 360.412.3199 or and he’ll talk you through the steps.

Food trucks give families an opportunity to try global cuisine at an affordable price, all while going out for a shared meal. Dine al fresco, take yours to go, or pick up lunch for the office. Supporting local small businesses keeps dollars in the community and benefits families, friends, and neighbors in your hometown. A stop at the Lacey Food Depot means boba, tacos, jerk chicken, lumpia, barbecue, and hummus just for starters. Load up the car, slather on some sunscreen and come hungry.


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