The latest food truck round-up took place last night in Fort Lauderdale's Esplanade Park, and if there was one common complaint it was that the turnout was actually too good. Hundreds of people queued up to try gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches,
inhale short rib-smothered tater tots, and tweak off of half a dozen
By 6 p.m. the lines of eager diners snaked from Himmarshee
Street all the way to the New River. Many people gave up waiting or never got up to the trucks before many of them ran out of food. The upside for Himmarshee restaurants: spillover
crowds that packed almost every restaurant.
According to Fish Box food truck owner David
Garcia, the only complaint that he hears about the round-ups is about the lines. Garcia says that his truck usually attends
about two to three truck rallies each week. Like other truck owners, he
was surprised at the huge turn out at Esplanade Park. "Yesterday's
rally was phenomenal. It was a little bit crazy with so many people,"
Garcia chuckled." We had lines of 40 to 50 people, but we always
try to get the food out as quickly as we possibly can."
Florida rocker and a truck round-up newbie, Steve Kleisath, waited in
line for over an hour at a popular burger truck. Kleisath was midway through the line when the truck owner
told the crowd that they were sold out of many of their popular items
and suggested that those who were not already at the front of the line
try their luck at another truck. Kleisath decided to try one
of the restaurants on Himmarshee instead.
At first glance, it
may seem like local restaurant owners would be opposed to the rally, but
surprisingly, Himmarshee restaurants were the big winners of the night.
Bourbon on 2nd restaurant manager Jack Winter said," The rally helped
business tremendously. We benefitted greatly, especially because I heard
that a lot of the truck venors ran out of food fairly early."
truck round-ups have a knack for creating instant, mobile communities.
Yesterday, the area was teeming with people whom you wouldn't normally
find at the same event together- the well-heeled, (anti-hipster)
hipsters, college kids enjoying the last few weeks of summer break, and
industry experts cite the slow economy as one of the reasons why the
food truck trend has taken off across the country. On average you can go
to a rally and spend between $10- $15 for a meal and a (non-alcoholic)
drink, not including dessert.
With a new food truck
round-up popping up randomly every week, the question now is whether South Florida residents
will continue to attend when having to contend with long lines, sweltering
heat, and limited parking.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.