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Locke Street Eats reopens with food trucks, movie nights, concerts and events

DuTremaine takes a mind, body, soul approach to community building
William “Billy” DuTremaine’s focus on community involvement and connection has guided the development of Locke Street Eats since its opening. (DelSheree Gladden/The Journal)

After closing for several months during the winter, Locke Street Eats reopened March 14 and is busier than ever with food trucks, movie nights, concerts and new community events.

Owner Billy DuTremaine is not shy about sharing his life story and how those experiences have shaped the goals behind his business ventures. He takes a mind, body and soul approach to building community and helping people forge connections.

Cottonwood Clinical Services serves as the mind component of his approach.

DuTremaine’s personal struggle with addiction and subsequent incarceration gave him a deep appreciation for people who work in recovery and human services. Cottonwood allows him to help others make their way through the recovery process.

Everyone DuTremaine employs at Ironwood Gym and Locke Street Eats has been touched by addiction, personally or with a family member.

“They are the hardest workers and loyal, and I'm very grateful,” he said.

DuTremaine believes that a strong mind free of addiction allows people to become better members of the community. Since working through his own recovery, he said he has been blessed beyond his “wildest dreams” and wants to help others achieve that as well.

Ironwood Gym ties into recovery and community building through the body.

Not only does the gym offer a place for community members to improve their health and fitness in a supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere, DuTremaine said he offers free memberships to Cottonwood clients to help them start building healthy habits and learn how to take care of their bodies.

“I believe in this change,” he said of the healing nature of physical exercise. “I have to be working out or I get anxiety … but when I’m working out I feel good and I look good … and it’s just good for your self-esteem.”

Helping others develop skills and tools to make positive changes is a passion for DuTremaine. He believes anyone who will do the work can change.

Locke Street Eats provides nourishment for the soul by bringing community members together and providing a safe, drug- and alcohol-free space to have fun and make connections.

After pandemic restrictions lifted, DuTremaine said it took a while for residents to feel comfortable attending events again. When people first started showing up for lunch or dinner at the lot’s food trucks or at community events, he said they would “stay in their bubbles,” still wary of interacting closely.

DuTremaine hopes to make those bubbles “collide” and get people to talk with one another and share information. He became encouraged when he saw parents let their children play together on the lot’s playground and then sit together and meet regularly at Locke Street Eats.

Efrain Oquita, manager at Locke Street Eats, said he started out operating the projector and sound system for movie nights. “It was really cool to see the movie nights pick up and explode as big as it did,” he said. “You see all those families watching the movie, and … there's a big lift just being a part of that.”

Movie nights are open to the community and show a variety of films throughout the year. (Courtesy Locke Street Eats)

Oquita’s role has evolved into managing employees working on the food trucks, helping with maintenance, preparing for events, booking bands and running the open mic nights.

“I just really enjoy just seeing people out enjoying themselves and that, to me, is just priceless,” Oquita said. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of it, to be able to take ownership of that, of creating a cool, family-oriented, safe space.”

Musical performances are planned for most Friday nights throughout the spring and summer and will offer a wide variety of music styles. Oquita said they book a lot of local bands, but he hopes to expand to include more regional talent and bring in artists such as Navajo blues and rock singer Levi Platero, who has performed at other Farmington venues and is touring throughout the Southwest.

“Everyone is welcome on my dirt lot,” DuTremaine said.

He enjoys giving new and lesser known musicians and artists a chance to share their work, and he makes an effort to provide music for all interests.

Community members commented to him last fall that venues in the area never hosted punk rock, so he invited Farmington-based punk band Mommy Milkers to play at Locke Street Eats. The band later won The Mountain 2.0’s 2022 Battle for the Stage and were awarded an opening slot for GWAR at Pepsi Amphitheater.

Open mic nights welcome anyone to share their musical talents. Oquita proposed the idea as a way to bring individual singers and musicians together. Various instruments and sound equipment are available for those interested in joining in.

DuTremaine said he wasn’t sure how open mic nights would work and was pleasantly surprised to see musicians jump in together for impromptu jam sessions. Another interesting aspect of open mic nights was watching the teenage crowd slowly get involved.

At first, he said, a group of teenage girls would watch for a while, then take the mics and “clown a song” for fun. Over time, teenage performers started showing their true talent. DuTremaine said, “They're all there, and you would not believe the voices these kids have. It is incredible.”

Along with music, movie nights and food trucks, Locke Street Eats hosts a variety community events ranging from cornhole tournaments and kart shows to fundraising and service-oriented events.

Vendors offered a variety of products at Locke Street Eats first flea market on March 18. (Courtesy Locke Street Eats)

When the Farmington Flea Market closed permanently, DuTremaine saw another need he could fill. He said he recognized that many of the vendors at the old flea market made their living selling there and they would need a new location to offer their products. Locke Street Eats fit the bill.

On March 18, the lot hosted its first flea market, with a craft show that followed March 25. Both events are planned as recurring events throughout the summer, and interested vendors are invited to sign up for the next flea market or craft show.

When DuTremaine was first building Locke Street Eats amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he wasn’t sure if it would all come together given what was happening in the world and the local community. He said he kept faith and continued to work and he “couldn't be more pleased to have this thing turn out.”

When thinking about where he started out in life and where he is now, DuTremaine said, “You know … I'm pretty proud. I did this (expletive) and I did it for real. … I believe that life is exactly what you make it, and I love mine.”