Could Oklahoma City support an outdoor nighttime food market and join the ranks of edgy cities like Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore.?
J.D. Merryweather admits it was a spur-of-the-moment idea that led him to join Laura Massenat, co-owner of Elemental Coffee at 815 N Hudson, and start H&8th, an outdoor evening food court beginning tonight at the coffee shop.
Merryweather, a photographer and co-owner of Coop Ale Works, is a frequent traveler and said he was always impressed at how such food markets served as community gathering spots.
“I've seen it in other cities — Portland, San Antonio, Austin — they all do great night markets. There are enough foodies here, we've seen how popular the trucks are, and this might be a good way to bring everyone together.”
It was during an open house party hosted by Elemental Coffee that Merryweather dreamed up the idea of doing a nighttime food market in Oklahoma City.
“I looked at the craft, and how could we get others involved,” Merryweather said. “It's a win-win for all.”
For the first market, which is set to run the last Friday of each month, vendors will include Big Truck Tacos, Cuppies and Joe, and The Munchbox, a relative newcomer to the food truck market that serves a mix of American fare.
Jonathon Stranger with Ludivine will serve cocktails and local brews from Coop Ale Works. Coffees, teas and soft drinks will be sold exclusively by Elemental Coffee.
Future events likely will include vendors like Patty Wagon, Copper Cup and the Flying Cotton Brothers. The idea, Merryweather said, is to offer a variety of food and not just feature taco trucks.
Massenat admits the idea of hosting an outdoor food market along Hudson Avenue would have been dismissed as an impossible feat just a few years ago. But the area is in a “fast” transition now, Massenat said, with housing and shops rapidly filling MidTown's empty buildings and lots.
“So many great cities are doing similar events,” Massenat said. “And we're all about helping Oklahoma City continue to grow and become a city with more interesting things to do.”
H&8th will be hosted from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. the last Friday of each month at 815 N Hudson. To learn more, follow H&8th on Twitter at @h_n_8th