FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Six food truck merchants showed up at the Fairfield Metro train station Wednesday, eager to hear more about the state’s proposal to allow one or more vendors to operate in the parking lot beginning this spring.
“I think it would be great,” said Aaron Hagel of Best Food Fast, which serves up a full line of goodies in spots across Bridgeport. “We’re definitely excited about it. The demand is here.”
Commuters have been asking for simple amenities, such as food options and bathrooms, since planned retail development around the 5-year-old station has not materialized, said Craig Bordiere, a supervising rail officer for the state Department of Transportation.
The original station plans included a concourse with shops and restaurants, a hotel and other mixed-use space.
The state recently decided to seek proposals from vendors and will entertain ideas only from the six who showed up for the mandatory pre-bid conference at the station Wednesday, Bordiere said.
Among those were Best Food Fast, Fairfield-based Two Bills Grill and Breakfast Nook, which Erika Urszenyi has run near the New Haven train station for five years.
Hagel, a Fairfield resident, had already asked for a variance to set up shop in the lot next door near Planet Fitness and Tumble Jungle. He said he’s ready to take on the train station with his spacious 24-foot food truck.
“Not everyone is as equipped to do it as we are,” said Hagel, saying he can offer everything from breakfast fare to sandwiches and smoothies.
A full 1,242 people travel on Metro-North to or from the Fairfield Metro station during the weekday morning peak hours of 4:36 to 8:28 a.m., Dan Baker, a DOT rail transportation officer, told the vendors.
Another 705 travel on Saturdays, with about 517 using the station on Sundays.
“We believe the morning peak is a real opportunity,” Bordiere said.
The request for proposals requires the vendors to explain their food, prices, where they would like to set up in the 1,400-space parking lot and the rent they would be willing to pay for the site.
Vendors have until Feb. 21 to ask any questions of the state, and full proposals are expected by Feb. 28. Bordiere expects to have a decision within two weeks of the deadline.
Urszenyi said she could provide coffee, pastries and sandwiches from her truck, just as she does on Union Street in New Haven.
“I’m very interested,” she said, checking out the lot.