Electronic Eats: Philly’s first gaming food truck becomes social hub

Electronic Eats
Nina-Maria Lara-Daniels and Armand Wilson, co-owners of Electronic Eats, smile as they serve customers at Broad and Spring Garden streets.
Melissa Mitman

Philadelphia residents Nina-Maria Lara-Daniels and Armand Wilson are co-owners of a unique business called Electronic Eats.

During the week, in the busy area of Broad and Spring Garden streets, their purple food truck can be easily spotted—it’s the one with a 55-inch TV screen on the side that allows customers to play video games while enjoying Latin dishes and soul food.

The gaming food truck features hits like ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Mario Kart,’ which are available for free play on a PC with Xbox-style controllers.

Melissa Mitman

Lara-Daniels and Wilson says the goal is to engage the well-known Philly food scene community and provide a spotlight on the growing wave of gamers in the area.

They encourage not just experienced gamers to play, but those simply grabbing a bite to eat who may not have picked up a controller in years.

“We need stuff that connects people together,” said Lara-Daniels. “We feel like Electronic Eats is like the glue. We really want to bring different people from different social classes and ethnic backgrounds and say, ‘Hey, you guys want to play a couple of rounds against each other?’

A vision Lara-Daniels says she and her partner Wilson had developed during their time in New York City after meeting on a film set as background actors.

“We found that we both had a mutual love for gaming and eating,” said Wilson, who also builds PCs for gaming.

Lara-Daniels, a heavy gamer who considers herself a masterclass in Xbox 360, was introduced by Wilson into the world of PC Master Race and later helped her build her very own PC.

The established couple later relocated to Philadelphia and began eating a wide range of foods offered throughout the city.

“At some point, we decided we should open a restaurant,” said Wilson. “But because we like games and are also filmmakers, we asked ourselves, ‘How could we put that all together?’ Over a period of time, that just grew into this food truck concept.”

During the height of COVID-19, the couple decided to invest in their vision and purchased a former USPS truck from Virginia through a third-party site called Used Vending for $27,000.

But as first-time business owners, they were quickly met with adversity, as the truck needed a lot of work to make that vision possible.

Melissa Mitman

“The whole truck was not ready to vend out of it at all,” Wilson added. “It was in terrible condition.”

However, thanks to the help of American Mobile Vending, the couple was able to get the truck fully revamped.

What seemed like the final roadblock quickly became one of many, as the diesel truck needed extensive work under the hood.

After many trips from Philadelphia to a Bensalem, Bucks County mechanic, the couple was able to officially test their product out on the street in different areas before landing in the city’s Spring Garden section.

With the branding of its Twitch channel, Electronic Eats has begun establishing its name in the city.

You may have spotted this purple truck at various local events or college campuses such as Villanova University on the weekends.

Melissa Mitman

Philadelphia Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, who recently presented the ‘2023 PHL Gaming Expo,’ expresses a huge interest in the Philly gaming community and has teamed up with Electronic Eats.

“Gaming connects people and provides something fun to do. But it also can be a pipeline for good-paying jobs. Philly needs to do more to attract people and businesses — by promoting gaming as an industry,” said Thomas. “We can continue to send the message that Philly is booming and innovating.”

In 2021, the world’s first Esports industry campus, “The Block,” launched in the heart of Philadelphia by Nerd Street Gamers along the 400 block of North Broad Street that includes a Localhost gaming facility that became a popularized hub in the City of Brotherly Love.

This gaming buzz also includes ongoing  Philadelphia Fusion and Comcast Spectacor’s plans for a new mixed-use facility in South Philly.

Overall, Lara-Daniels and Wilson plan to be at the forefront of Thomas’ gaming initiative for small businesses with an additional edge—using the love of food.