Hot spot: Bend food truck workers find ways to stay cool

Temperatures are reaching 120 degrees in them

Food truck workers find ways to stay cool

BEND, Ore. - If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen -- unless you work in a food truck at The Lot in Bend.

Temperatures in the trucks can soar past 120 degrees when it's as hot outside as it is now. Fans and air conditioners can help, but when there's food cooking, that's not always the case.

"It doesn't help," Thailandia owner Maliwan Hensen said Tuesday. "Well, at least a little bit, but not much. It's hot!"

The lot opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. In Portland, some food trucks are closing early due to the heat, but at The Lot, the trucks have a contract that requires them to be open during certain hours.

Depending on the time of day, it can be better in the trucks than it seems.

"I definitely prefer the morning shifts as opposed to the night shifts, because it kind of gets warmer throughout the shift," A La Carte team member Nicole Kische said. "Instead of coming in in the afternoon and you're in the heat of the day and not acclimated at all."

The workers in the trucks have their own ways to keep cool, from sticking their feet in a bucket of ice to installing swamp coolers to simply insulating the truck.

One food truck even cools down their customers with misters set up on the outside. They spray into the truck, cooling the employees. But even then, the owner is installing an air conditioning unit this week. He's not even sure how well that'll work inside the truck.

"The air conditioner and a hot grill continue to fight each other when they meet in the middle," Greek Street Catering owner Johnny Mehas said. "So it's just lost in translation, if you will -- the heat and the cold. We're going to lose this battle."

With no shortage of customers and triple digits in the forecast, these food trucks are truly going to be hot spots.

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