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Shirt Factory food truck corral switches to drive-up only

Shirt Factory food truck corral switches to drive-up only

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GLENS FALLS — The weather was warm and inviting late Thursday afternoon, but the only sign of the crowd that customarily fills the lawns and parking lots at the Shirt Factory for the weekly food truck corrals was a line of cars stretching down Cooper Street.

“It’s all we can do,” said Eric Unkauf, owner of the Shirt Factory and impresario of the corrals, which grew over the last couple of years to include pony rides, bounce houses and food and crafts of all sorts in a fairlike atmosphere.

That atmosphere was not evident Thursday, as a few vendors worked in masks, each in their own truck, and customers stayed in their cars, collecting orders they had phoned in.

This was the food corral pandemic-style, with care being taken not to transmit the coronavirus that has spread misery across New York and the globe.

“I’ll be surprised if we can set up outdoor seating this summer,” Unkauf said.

He calculated that, abiding by the 6-foot separation rule, perhaps two people could sit at each picnic table.

“It will probably be years before we can have bounce houses,” he said. “They’re little inflatable petri dishes.”

Unkauf is doing his best to resurrect at least a remnant of the popular event, but he isn’t hopeful about anything returning to the way it used to be anytime soon.

“Look at HIV. It’s been 40 years, and we still don’t have a vaccine,” he said.

Still, as the state relaxes its rules and allows a gradual reopening, he’s hoping to add more food trucks and non-food vendors. Eventually, some customers might be allowed to walk up to the trucks to collect orders, but they’ll probably have to take them off-site to eat, he said.

Those vendors who were on-site Thursday expressed hope the new setup would generate some business.

Mike Morrill, running the Adirondack Brewery truck, said he had 18 orders, which was “all right for the first time.” They had only food on Thursday, but next week will have beer available, too, in cans or bottles.

Giovanni Casanica said he and his wife, Francesca, were busy, making fresh pasta for their Italian dishes.

They moved to the area three years ago from the Rieti region of Italy, which is close to Rome, and they sell at farmers markets in Saratoga Springs and Troy, as well at the food truck corrals, he said.

“We brought our traditional recipes from our grandparents,” he said.

Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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