A pre-pandemic photo from Off The Grid’s Pleasant Hill market. Courtesy: Off The Grid

Off The Grid Pleasant Hill
138 Trelany Rd.
5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, starting April 6

Off The Grid, the Bay Area’s far-reaching food truck marketplace company, had a rough pandemic. Before 2020, OTG’s network of food truck festivals was growing fast, with a team of several hundred employees and crowds of hungry patrons lining up at a wide variety of local food trucks. The pandemic shut all that down, and even in 2021 its largest destination food truck events remained dormant. Now the business is slowly rebuilding, re-launching some of its most popular events, including its long-shuttered Pleasant Hill market.

The food truck fest in Pleasant Hill “was always one of our most beloved markets,” OTG marketing head Renee Frojo told Nosh. It’s also one of the markets that Off The Grid has gotten the most questions about from patrons eager to see it reopen. “That one and Fort Mason,” she said.

Fort Mason’s fest is back in April, OTG announced a few days ago, and now it’s time for Pleasant Hill. That festival will return to its digs at 138 Trelany Rd. from  5 to 9 p.m. on April 6th, with a lineup of old favorites and new players in the food truck game. (We have a full list of the Pleasant Hill trucks below.)

“It’s been a slow relaunch, bit by bit” Frojo said of OTG’s work to return to its former glory. “Some cities are still hesitant to come back,” she said, citing lingering “fears of large crowds.” And Off The Grid, itself, is much smaller — only 26 folks work there now.

Off The Grid Pleasant Hill’s opening food truck lineup

Given its diminished staff, OTG has to be more strategic in its relaunches, which means “we’re coming back with the markets that are most sought after,” Frojo said. That’s why the twice-weekly Oakland Museum of California market roared back in February, and why Pleasant Hill is back before, say, the market in El Cerrito.

So, right now, if you’re looking for an Off The Grid experience in the East Bay, the OMCA, Alameda and Pleasant Hill are your only options. But if things go well, Frojo said, we might even see new OTGs in places they haven’t been before. 

For example, there’s Berkeley, which lost all three of its markets by early 2016, after issues including low customer numbers and complaints from other area businesses that food trucks offer “unfair competition.” In this new era of increased outdoor dining, is it possible that OTG might return to Berkeley? “If we could build back up,” Frojo said in answer to that question, “we’d explore all of our market opportunities.”

Eve Batey has worked as a reporter and editor since 2004, including as the co-founder of SFist, as a deputy managing editor of the SF Chronicle and as the editor of Eater San Francisco.