PORTLAND, Maine — It's no secret, Portland is a 'foodie' city, bringing in tourists from around the country to try Maine dishes. And some of the most sought-after items don't come from actual restaurants, but food trucks.
"It's amazing food, first and foremost, and it's so accessible," said 88 Donuts owner Ellen O'Keefe. "You can combine it with taking your kids to the playground, or taking in a sunset at the park."
O'Keefe had her food truck parked at the Eastern Promenade in Portland Saturday, along with dozens of others. However, like nearly all food trucks, 88 Donuts' location can change daily, and finding your favorite four-wheeled eatery can be difficult.
"Trying to keep track of where all the trucks were gonna be and when quickly got really complicated because there's so many," said Portland-based software engineer Justin Velgos.
After finding himself ordering more from food trucks amid the pandemic, Velgos worked to develop a way to track where they'll be.
"It's just too much information to keep in your head when there's like 50 trucks and they're all around at different places," said Velgos.
Along with developers Emily Cheroske and Jeff Jackson, the team created the app Food Truckalico.
The team has created an algorithm that helps track where the trucks will be across Portland based on their Instagram posts. Then, that information is placed on the app for users to sift through which locations will have trucks, and when they'll be out.
"It's helpful to always to have a lending hand to give you more exposure," said Nick Sindoni, the co-owner of Roll Call. His food was parked at Belleflower Brewing in Portland on Saturday. Sindoni says customers have told him they've found where he'd be set up because of the app.
"We're just excited for tourists and locals alike to come try our food," said Sindoni.
Velgos says that his app does not charge food trucks at all to be included. He hopes it's able to help support their business while making things easy for customers.
"I like helping support them in the way that fits my skill set as an app designer," said Velgos.
According to Velgos, the app already has more than 1,800 downloads and is available on the Apple and Android app stores.