Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food truck festival inhabits Olive Mill

QUEEN CREEK, It’s no secret that a food revolution has taken over the United States. But even more recently food trucks are popping up all over the country delivering the distinct tastes in fast food time, and in Arizona any food truck festival is becoming a must-attend event for some people.


One such occasion invaded the Olive Mill in Queen Creek on Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend, Food Truck Olivepalooza brought its brand of portable fare to the residents of the East Valley and Pinal County. The festival had food trucks, wine tasting, music and, of course, olives and olive oil.

Near-perfect temperatures along with the great food and location were enough to back the streets up leading into the Olive Mill’s entrance for hours.

The one constant at the Olive Mill is great food and wine as well as weekly entertainment that attracts visitors and locals all day long depending on whether you are looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Olive Mill partnered with Phoenix-area food trucks to bring the fun to Queen Creek for the weekend.

Food trucks aren’t new, but in the past few years the influx of trucks boasting professional chefs armed with all the conveniences of a restaurant kitchen, being able to deliver their food in many different locations, is. Television shows with food truck competitions also are attracting viewers to local festivals to try a variety of food on the same day, in one location.

On Saturday food trucks that had po-boy sandwiches, Mexican cream ice pops, Latin American food and other spicy dishes were the featured acts. In addition, the Olive Mill also served local beer and wine, with its own “Pig in a Waffle Blanket,” which was breakfast cooked on a stick.

On Sunday burgers, French-Vietnamese fusion, Italian ice drinks, Italian specialty foods and Oaxacan tacos were the main acts.

The key, which was the same here, is to get to the food truck festivals earlier than you might care to, overeat and sample all of the culinary treats. If you don’t arrive early, the waits can get into over 30 minutes for food.

But many visitors scoped out the lineup prior to going and had their plan set into motion well before getting to the Olive Mill.

“I know how busy the Olive Mill gets anyway, so when I knew the food truck festival was coming I knew I had to get here early,” Jill Sanchez, a local food truck fan, said. “This is the ideal spot to sample a lot of different food while relaxing between meals with entertainment.”

Much of what can be demanding of food truck festivals is to eat, then hurry up and run to the next truck before the lines grow too long. But many of the diners were quite content with grabbing a few items, then relaxing under the olive trees and listening to the local music.

On Saturday, Phoenix’s own Upper East Side Big Band performed early in the day, while acoustical act Lucrezio closed things out at night. On Sunday, Chris Putrino featuring Suzy Steinmann played jazz favorites on Sunday.

One food truck intangible that can be a separator between stopping or passing by, or even deciding whether you want to go back, can be the personality of the owner.

Chef Darryl King, owner of Taste Rite, has just such an engaging personality. Taste Rite offers barbecue and po-boy sandwiches and manages to mix the two together. The food is an obvious attractor to his long lines. But what comes across as a gruff personality from deep in the line quickly turned into the man with the many stories.

“Sometimes I make people angry when I say no,” King said. “But it has to be done. When someone asks me what I recommend, I say no way. That’s on you.”

King worries that if he makes the choice and recommends something that turns out not to be a pleaser, then the customer doesn’t come back.

“I want you to look at my menu, decide what looks great to you and judge us on the food that you choose,” King said.

And with the many customers he said he had seen multiple times already into the early afternoon, his style isn’t rubbing too many the wrong way.

It’s the personalities of the truck owners, along with the food, that brings food lovers to food festivals to begin with. But the traveling restaurants are starting to develop more than a cult following and are as much of a destination as regular sit-down restaurants for some customers.

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Owners Avoid Government Centers

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The ubiquitous food trucks that dot downtown city streets are feeling effects of the federal shutdown.

“It’s definitely slowing things down… probably off 30 to 40 percent,” said Patrick Rathbone, owner of The Big Cheese food truck.

“You try to pick the busiest places to go and you stay away from government centers,” he told News4 during the lunch hour Tuesday at Farragut Square.

Other food truck operators say they’re staying away from government-heavy sites like L’Enfant Plaza.

Kenny Greenberger drove all the way in from his home in Alexandria even though he’s furloughed from the Federal Interior Department.

“I’m a furloughed federal government worker,” he said as he stood next to PhoNation, a popular Vietnamese food truck, “I came just for the food.”

Greenberger was picking up dinner to share with his wife. He said he made the trip to support the food trucks.

District officials say they expect a drop in sales tax collections because of the shutdown, now ending its 15th day. Restaurants, carry-outs and other shops that cater to federal workers are reporting reduced sales.

The shutdown isn’t doing much good for the city’s important tourism business — a woman visiting from Australia told News4 if she ever comes back to the U.S., she won’t return to D.C.

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

GET OUT: Giddy-up to Food Truck Rodeo in Clinton Square, concert in Solvay

Today, round up friends and colleagues downtown for lunch at the Food Truck Rodeo, Part II. After the success of the first food truck rodeo last month, the City of Syracuse presents the second round in Clinton Square.

The food trucks and outdoor carts confirmed to attend are The STIR Mobile Eatery, Smoke Inc. BBQ, Lady Bug Lunch Box, Backyard Gourmet, PBJ’s, Ponchitos and Recess Café.

Food trucks have grown as a metropolitan trend nationally for some years, but the number in the Syracuse area grew dramatically this year.

When: Wednesday, October 16, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Clinton Square, downtown Syracuse.
How much: Bring lunch money.

Tonight, tap your toes to big band era music from classic movies at “An Oldies Concert by the Solvay High School Band. Senior citizens and community groups are welcome to attend.

When: Wednesday, October 16, 7 p.m.
Where: Solvay High School auditorium. 600 Gertrude St. Village of Solvay
How much: Free and open to the public.

All work and no play makes Salt City taste kinda bland. Get Out is a weekday series of daily diversions, from trying a new restaurant dish to catching a show downtown. Look for a new post Monday-Friday before noon. #GetOutCNY

Contact Katrina Tulloch anytime: Email | Twitter | Google+

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

SA’s Food Truck Parks Can Be Havens or Headaches (or Both)

Three years ago, food trucks were but a pipe dream for would-be restaurateurs who sought a lower overhead than that of a brick-and-mortar eatery. Even as trucks afforded owners mobility and a buzzy hook, it’s not been the easiest of roads to navigate: ancient city ordinances and insane South Texas weather are just some of the road blocks forcing mobile kitchens to take a detour since 2010.

Enter food truck parks. Hitching posts such as Boardwalk on Bulverde, The Point Park Eats, Alamo Street Eat Bar and The Block have provided local rolling restaurants with more stability so long as both parties put some skin in the game. But security isn’t always guaranteed. A perfect example of the precariousness of the courts is the 281 Food Park, located five miles north of the 1604 and 281 interchange, which went through a litany of owners and versions before finally shutting down earlier this year.

What motivates an owner to turn a lot into a smorgasbord of tiny eateries? Whether it’s joining the mobile food movement, taking entrepreneurial baby steps, safeguarding a neighborhood or providing a base location for newbie trucks, each local owner has a goal as varied as their tenants’ menus.

The Creator

There’s no food truck park discussion without mentioning the Boardwalk on Bulverde (14732 Bulverde). As the first established park in San Antonio, the Boardwalk, or BOB, has been somewhat of a guinea pig location for food truck owners and competing park operators.

The Boardwalk, owned and operated by Cameron Davies, held its soft opening in late December 2010 with a smattering of trucks including Bistro Six (which has since abandoned its wheels to open Knife Fork Gastropub), DUK Truck, GG Mobile Bistro (closed as of early 2011), K-Hill BBQ Company, Saweet Cupcakes (which has had two different owners since opening), Tin Can Tacos (gone the way of the Dodo) and Wheelie Gourmet.

Davies also owns Cruising Kitchens, which has played an essential role in refurbishing food trucks in San Antonio and across Texas, so it only made sense for him to provide a place for trucks to dip a wheel in the mobile kitchen pool.

“We built the park with our hands, and we had the background [because of Cruising Kitchens], so we knew what the trucks would need to operate,” Davies said while admitting there’s been a bit of a learning curve. “It’s an ongoing challenge to figure out layout for trucks to come in and out, how to power the trucks and visibility.”

One of Davies’ biggest struggles has been figuring out electricity requirements for said trucks, some of which are sizably bigger than those built three years ago. This has led Davies and co. to install a new electric panel at the park. According to Davies, renting a space at BOB will run $500 with an additional $50 per month to plug into the park’s electricity (which helps stave off generator use for the trucks).

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

Sketches released in murder of food truck owner

HOUSTON—The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding the suspect who gunned down a taco truck owner in northwest Harris County.

Composite sketches of the killer and his getaway driver were released Tuesday.

Lorenzo Juan Vasquez, 53, was shot to death Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. in the 8100 block of Fairbanks North Houston.

The gunman walked up to his taco truck and ordered food. While Vasquez and his wife were preparing it, the suspect burst through the door.

Vasquez was trying to protect his wife when he was shot.

The suspect and his getaway driver fled in a tan four-door sedan, possibly a Honda or Toyota.

They didn’t get any money.

“I never thought this type of violence would reach my family,” Manuel Vasquez, the victim’s brother, said Tuesday. “I ask the community to please pay attention now before it’s too late.”

Sheriff Adrian Garcia is also concerned the violent robbers might strike again.

“My feeling is, is that if they selected one mobile food vendor they may select another,” the sheriff said in a news conference Tuesday.

The case is personal for Garcia.

He knew the victim because their wives sold Mary Kay cosmetics together.

Sonia Vasquez said she and her husband came to the U.S. from El Salvador and were living the American dream.

They began operating the taco truck last year and hoped to open a restaurant soon.

The gunman is described as a Hispanic man in his early 20s. He is about 5’4 with a skinny build.  He has dark hair and a tattoo over one eyebrow.

The driver of the getaway car is also described as a young Hispanic man. Investigators believe he has a Texans tattoos on his shaved head.

If you recognize either man, please call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

Matt Littlejohn Band, Cantina Food Truck to be on hand at West Homewood’s …

nightmarket.jpg(West Homewood Farmer’s Market)

HOMEWOOD, Alabama — The West Homewood Farmer’s Market will host their final Night Market of the year on Thursday, Oct. 17. Tomorrow night, from 6-9 p.m., 160 Oxmoor Road will buzz to life with offering including fresh fruits and veggies, food trucks, live music and local vendors.

Matt Littlejohn Band will provide the night’s entertainment with live music from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Cantina Food Truck and the Homewood Diner will be on hand with dinner selections.

Crowd-favorites the “Veggie Races” will make a comeback for the final time this year. Both “kids and kid-at-heart” are encouraged to participate. Racers will be tasked with creating a zucchini car with carrot wheels that will be propelled down a “one-of-a-kind homemade ramp.”

For more on Thursday night’s market celebration, click here.

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Oct 16, 2013
Kim Rivers

Rochester food trucks add to Food Truck Tuesday, extended to Oct. 29

Last week at Food Truck Tuesdays, Larkin Square’s open-air dinnertime food court, you could have ordered a salad of warm fried chicken, watermelon radishes, kale, radicchio, pickled brown and black mustard seeds and creamy dill ranch dressing. For $8, or $4 a half order. From a truck. From Rochester.

Good news for the hungry: Food Truck Tuesdays has been extended through Oct. 29, according to Larkin’s Leslie Zemsky. So there’s two more chances to get your nosh on. It’s 5 to 8 p.m. at 745 Seneca St., larkinsquare.com.

The best-known of the 585’s trucks, Brick-N-Motor, has made a lot of fans in Buffalo through its regular showings at Food Truck Tuesdays. Here’s one dish from their most recent menu posted to Facebook, in full detail: roasted beet gnocchi with butternut squash, Swiss chard, smoked almonds, maple-thyme gastrique and fennel pollen, $4 small, $8 large. The pork belly steamed buns, duck confit cassoulet and mussels are as elaborate.

Ilio DiPaolo’s annual Celebrity Chef’s Culinary Extravaganza is set for 6 p.m. Monday at the restaurant, 3875 South Park Ave. in Blasdell.

Wines from Michael Mondavi’s Folio Fine Wine Partners will be paired with a nine-course meal prepared by chefs Michael DiPaolo, Dan Buckley and Jackie Bamrick. The menu includes pasta with marinara, arugula, balsamic glaze and pistachios; bronzed salmon with couscous and tzatziki; and beef tenderloin with mushroom demiglace, butternut risotto cake and broccoli rabe.

Tickets $99; call 825-3675. Proceeds will benefit The Ilio DiPaolo Scholarship Fund.

The New York State Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Educational Foundation seek nominations for the 2014 “Restaurant Neighbor” and “Faces of Diversity American Dream” awards.

“Restaurant Neighbor” honors “outstanding charitable service performed by restaurant operators.” The national winner gets $5,000 toward their charitable efforts. “Faces of Diversity” have “members of the restaurant industry who, through hard work and perseverance, have achieved the American Dream.” The national winner has a $2,500 student scholarship presented in their name.

Nominations are accepted through Nov. 18 at www.NRAEF.org/Awards.

Openings:

• Schnitzel Co., “a Swiss and German pub,” started serving Oct. 7, at 15 New Road, Amherst. The number is 689-3600. It’s the latest outpost of the Rizzo restaurant group, after Rizotto on Maple Road.

• The remodeled Cornerstone Bar Grill, 10651 Main St., Clarence, plans to offer its American home cooking menu by Nov. 2. Owner Jacon Krull said he’s expecting his liquor license shortly. The building was The Valley Bar Grill before a December 2012 fire, he said, and the menu won’t change much.

• Marco’s Italian Deli added a fifth location at 5500 Main St., Williamsville, 632-1304.

Closings:

• For the season, Tuesday: Dug’s Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd. Owner Tucker Curtin said it will reopen March 1.

Send restaurant news from Western New York and Southern Ontario to agalarneau@buffnews.com for possible inclusion in a future column.

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Oct 15, 2013
Kim Rivers

Macon food truck rules stall out

A Macon City Council committee parked regulations for food trucks Monday afternoon, likely ensuring that no standards specifically addressing that type of business will be voted on before city and county governments merge at the end of the year.

Councilman Henry Ficklin, who made the motion to table the matter, said the city shouldn’t be passing new laws in its last three months, while a transition task force is working on unifying existing Macon and Bibb County ordinances.

“I think the (consolidation) transition committee has already indicated that they really don’t want any more legislation sent over there,” he said. His motion passed 3-2, and Ficklin was backed by votes from council members Elaine Lucas and Virgil Watkins.

“We are not going to get this legislation done under this council, it looks like,” Committee Chairman Tom Ellington said. The transition task force’s Laws Committee, on the advice of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, has decided that any ordinances the city or county pass after Oct. 15 will be sent to the new Macon-Bibb commission separate from the list of unified ordinances that probably will be adopted quickly.

Several people showed up to talk about the proposal, and Ellington offered to let them speak, though Council President James Timley argued that shouldn’t be allowed since the item already had been tabled. Ellington allowed people to speak despite Timley’s objection.

Roger Ruiz, owner of Doughboy Pizza at the corner of Third and Cherry streets, said he didn’t want to lose business on his most profitable nights to “fly-by-night food trucks,” and that they should be required to park a good distance from existing downtown restaurants.

Gary Schechterle, owner of Lemongrass Thai Bistro on Cherry Street, said food trucks need stronger regulation than the proposed ordinance would provide. Right now, in the absence of specific rules, food trucks can operate unhindered downtown, he said.

“It’s really the Old West out there,” Schechterle said.

Alley swap

Plans to transfer city alleyways to Mercer University in exchange for sidewalk work — worth more than the alleys — made it through the Ordinances Resolutions Committee on Monday, but not without controversy.

Mercer wants 6,672 square feet of land just off College Street, between Centenary United Methodist Church and Alexander II Magnet School, for use in the third phase of The Lofts at Mercer University. The alleys are valued at $46,704, according to the Bibb County tax assessor.

In exchange, developer Jim Daws of Sierra Development Corp. offered to do work worth $71,344 to city right-of-way along College Street.

The city got a $1 million grant for work on a two-block stretch of College Street, including a roundabout at the corner of Oglethorpe Street. Work from Mercer and Daws is to complement those plans.

Timley and Lucas objected, with Timley openly scoffing at city attorneys’ opinion that the exchange is legal, while Lucas claimed that agreeing to trade the land for more valuable work is “cheating our taxpayers.” But Timley’s attempt to table the resolution died for lack of a second, and it’s expected to appear on the full council’s agenda for a final vote Tuesday night.

Audit transfer

The council’s Appropriations Committee voted 5-0 Monday for a nearly $1.2 million appropriation to close out the fiscal 2013 budget book in preparation for the annual audit. That’s the sum total of line-item changes made during the year, not new spending, and won’t affect the city’s cash reserves, Ellington said.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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Oct 15, 2013
Kim Rivers

Friday’s Gathering will include all-you-can-eat option

Food trucks will be gathering in Little Italy on Friday

(Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun / March 23, 2012)

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The Baltimore Sun

12:17 p.m. EDT, October 15, 2013

The regular Friday night Gathering, Baltimore’s traveling food truck rally, is scheduled to return to Stratford University in Little Italy on Oct. 18.

This Gathering introduces a new wrinkle, or option, that event producers might keep as a semi-permanent thing if it goes well.

On Friday — in addition to the regular dining option, which consists of finding a truck that’s selling something you want to eat and buying it from them — there will be a VIP option.

For $50, you can eat all you want to from every truck and for $75 you can do that and drink all the top-shelf liquor you want to as well. Either way, you’ll be doing it in tented VIP seating.

“Think of it as two Gatherings in one,” said Damian Bohager, who produces the food truck rallies.

Seven food trucks will be serving the general population attending The Gathering. Six other trucks will be dedicated to the VIP tent.

It’s something to consider.

The regular Gathering goes from 5 to 10 p.m., and the VIP portion goes from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will live music at Friday’s Gathering from Bond Bentley.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to The Gathering website at thegatheringbaltimore.com.

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richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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Oct 15, 2013
Kim Rivers

It takes a village to start a food truck (Video)



Hot Indian Foods food truck founder Amol Dixit, chef Janene Holig and sous chef Rebecca Jackson (right to left).

Hot Indian Foods food truck founder Amol Dixit, chef Janene Holig and sous chef Rebecca Jackson (right to left).










Nick Halter
Staff reporter- Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

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How many people does it take to start a food truck? Several, if you want it to be a popular one.

That’s the lesson of a new video produced for Hot Indian Foods that shows how owner Amol Dixit worked with creative agencies, service providers and social-media experts as he readied the truck for its Twin Cities debut this year.

The Business Journal interviewed Dixit this summer for a how-to story that includes more details about Hot Indian Foods’ launch.

Among the team behind the truck: Janene Holig, Hot Indian Foods’ executive chef; Joellen Martinson-Davis and Sharon Gorney of Minneapolis brand agency Ultra Creative, Mark Palm of Chameleon Concessions (many members of the Twin Cities’ food-truck fleet owes their look to him, as the Business Journal noted in a profile this summer); and social media marketing guru Tim Brunelle of Hello Viking.

And, of course. there’s video production: Maribeth Romslo of Hello Sunshine Films produced the latest video, as well as another short film that gives viewers an idea of how the truck operates.

Next up could be a real estate broker: Dixit tells me he is in the “very early stages of exploring” a brick-and-mortar location for the concept.

Hot Indian Foods and more than 100 other food trucks and trailers are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal‘s food truck database.

Nick Halter covers food producers, grocery companies, restaurants and breweries.


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