The ex-lawyer now owns and operates his Fort Worth Food Park, and as Christmas approaches he’s focused on organizing the food trucks to serve holiday-themed dishes in a celebration on Saturday.
Securing a Santa to pose for photos with diners is just one more step in his metamorphosis from lawyer to entrepreneur. The former associate with Shannon Gracey Ratliff & Miller in Dallas used to tackle the intellectual challenges of writing appellate briefs and preparing for commercial litigation. Since he quit the firm in October, he spends the day much differently.
“Now a lot of what I’m doing is talking to people, recruiting people for the park or promoting the park. It’s very much people-based at this point,” says Kruger, the managing member and the only employee of CDK Ventures, which he created to own and operate the food park.
Kruger says he and his wife share “a passion for food” and they wanted a food park in Fort Worth after observing the “food truck culture” in Austin. Kruger says he liked eating outside with a vast array of meal choices in one convenient location. Kruger’s business charges food trucks a fee to operate inside the park. Available edibles so far range from tacos to cupcakes, vegan entrees to Korean barbecue.
Before working at Shannon Gracey from 2009 to 2011, Kruger was an associate with Kelly Hart & Hallman in Fort Worth from 2007 to 2009. He served as a briefing attorney at the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston for one year just after earning his law degree in 2006 from the University of Houston Law Center.
Kruger says he used his “lawyerly background” every day for months to work with the city of Fort Worth to launch the food park. He successfully argued before a city board to gain a zoning variance, and he worked with another department to obtain construction permits. He also handles everyday tasks such as recruiting vendors, marketing and cleaning the park.
Coincidentally, a former lawyer from Austin also runs a taco truck operating in the food park. Kruger says he has talked with Michael McDermott of Fort Worth’s YES! Taco about their common backgrounds. Kruger says, “I think lawyers are just, a lot of times, creative thinkers and kind of big-box thinkers.”
McDermott says he has enjoyed working with Kruger, noting, “It’s made it easy to work with him, because we do have similar backgrounds and similar ideas of what we would like to do now.”
-- Angela Morris