Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Ruston is Heard Freighthouse Food Park. Food parks are quickly growing in popularity largely because of their unique dining concept. Many sell popular and traditional items while some offer otherwise unavailable ethnic cuisine, specialty dishes, and experimental recipes. Heard Freighthouse Food Park is no exception offering all of the above with outdoor seating and convenient parking. To tell you more, Experience Ruston teamed up with the local foodies from Eating North LA and talked shop with the “The Heard’s” point person Desi Bourgeois.
Desi’s own Grown and Grazed is on site with some of the best-crafted burgers you’ll find. One of the most popular orders, the bacon jam burger with a side of house-made sweet potato fries, will leave you at the picnic table licking your fingers. Breakfast is also a hit at G&G. A morning favorite is the sweet potato hash. Strawberry and honey cream biscuits, brown sugar cinnamon scones, and house-made English muffins are a few items that have been served recently with new creations on the way.
What’s even more impressive about Grown and Grazed is their dedication to using locally sourced ingredients, even changing menu items to make use of seasonal produce. They proudly promote the local farmers with whom they’ve partnered to create these dishes and encourage customers to visit them at the local farmers market as well.
If barbeque is what you crave, just take a few steps over to Bad Wolf BBQ. Now this isn’t your standard beans and potato salad BBQ place. They’re proudly new age craft BBQ, offering dishes that truly pack a flavorful punch. No doubt about it, a favorite is the Texas-style brisket, especially when loaded onto a local sweet potato and topped with green onions and their signature white sauce. Want a little taste of everything? We don’t blame you. Fortunately, they also offer these platters loaded with your choices of meats and sides.
And like all good things - they don’t always last. Owner Andrew Caskey sources only the highest quality meats possible and quantities are sometimes limited, so get it while it’s available! We also suggest joining his Facebook group The Bad Wolf Pack to be the first to know about secret menu items!
Much like a science experiment gone absolutely right, Yolo Nitro Ice Dreamery is serving up liquid nitrogen ice cream. Although we failed to try anything on the menu that wasn’t delicious, the sweet potato pie seems to be one of the most popular items. This treat starts with a buttery pie crust filled sweet potato ice cream then topped with candied pecans, caramel sauce, and a toasted marshmallow.
Dianne Bourgeois and Matthew Cassidy run this “ice dreamery,” and you can bet that most of their ingredients are locally sourced and house-made, including those marshmallows! Other menu items include s’mores ice cream (with graham cracker streusel!) and death by chocolate, or you can create your own ice cream treat!
Not only does this set up offer some good eats, but it also promotes sustainability. Desi explained that at “The Heard” they are very serious about responsible resourcing and forming relationships with local farmers. Buying ingredients straight from the person who grew them is important to keeping dollars circulating within the community. You’re not just having a quality meal at Heard Freighthouse Food Park, you’re stimulating the economy and taking care of local growers. Packaging and materials at “The Heard” are also all recyclable, further reducing your carbon footprint.
While right now “The Heard” is home to these three food trucks, soon the area will provide an even greater experience for the public. Heard Freighthouse Food Park sits directly in front of its namesake, a large warehouse, standing ready for regeneration. What was once the C. Raymond Heard Wholesale Grocery Distribution Warehouse #2, a space used to store overflow groceries for a Ruston based wholesale grocery distribution business, will be taken back to its roots as a food-based entity focused on developing a local food economy.
Desi explains that with the revitalization of the warehouse will come opportunities like a commissary kitchen, expansion for food trucks, culinary classes and the opportunity for farmers who have over-produced to re-think and transform their goods into value-added products. (E.g. selling jams and pickled, jarred, and packaged items from their harvest.) The space will have a full-service bar and restaurant, as well as an artisan bakery and craft butcher shop with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, of course!
The outdoor area will also receive an update. There is currently enough space for four additional food trucks for a total of seven on the lot. Plans for a central lawn include creating a community space for families. Desi envisions events and concerts hosted on the lawn where everyone is invited and welcome to enjoy the day’s entertainment, whether they’re purchasing a snack from the available trucks or bringing in their own picnic basket.
So in closing, Heard Freighthouse Food Park offers some tasty local eats and a great place to meet up with friends, or make new ones in the open seating area. What the food truck park will become is an even more vibrant place to gather, celebrate, and enjoy ourselves the way we all know how - with entertainment, food, and drinks!
Fun fact: Not only is the word “heard” historic to the food truck lot, it also serves a purpose in the restaurant world. Did you know in a fast-paced restaurant kitchen, staff will shout “heard!” which is simply short for saying they heard the chef’s instructions and understand? Fitting for Heard Freighthouse Food Park!
Amanda is originally from Franklin Parish but has called Ruston home for several years. She has a passion for travel and tourism, event planning, and showcasing Ruston & Lincoln Parish. As the President & CEO, Amanda leads the CVB's sales and marketing efforts to promote the area and oversees all administrative functions of the CVB.