Browsing articles tagged with " food carts"
May 26, 2014
Tim Lester

The Star People’s Food Awards to pick best street food

PETALING JAYA: All eyes, and taste buds, are set to focus on Klang Valley street food with the launch of The Star People’s Food Awards.

The country’s largest daily joins major newspapers around the world in presenting awards to reward and celebrate the best in the local food industry.

The monthly awards would be given to the best Malaysian street food in the Klang Valley.

During its launch at Menara Star, The Star executive editor Brian Martin said the national-level food award was timely as the quality of street food has been perceived as going down over the years with older generation of hawkers retiring.

Jasmine Food Corporation is the sponsor of the awards.

Its chief executive officer Lim Swee Keat hoped that the awards would help raise awareness about food choices.

The awards are hosted on Metro Online Broadcast (MOB), The Star’s citizen journalism website, at

Each month, the Malaysian public can vote in their favourite category-based street food, such as nasi lemak, roti canai, popiah, and nasi kandar.

Voting is open to those aged 16 years and above with a Facebook account.

“Street food is classless and democratic – everyone has easy access to it and therefore everyone can apply good judgment,” said Julie Wong, the newspaper’s food editor.

The nomination period would be the first 10 days of the month.

MOB would display several choices on the board for readers to either click on the “endorse” button or “recommend” the dishes.

Voting, the second stage of the process, will be between the 15th to the end of every month.

Those who nominate, vote, or successfully share a link stand to win attractive prizes such as hotel stays and dining vouchers in five-star establishments.

The details can be found in the FAQ and About section on The Star People’s Food Awards’ website page which is now live.

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May 26, 2014
Kim Rivers

The explosion of Provo’s food truck scene is mouth-watering

When Christian Faulconer opened a Sweeto Burrito in Provo last summer, he joined a very short list — basically, a handful — of food trucks in the area.

Now less than a year later, Provo’s food truck landscape has changed drastically. The Provo Food Truck Roundup, at the Startup Building parking lot in South Provo, drew a dozen local vendors and hundreds upon hundreds of patrons this past Thursday evening.

The people have spoken, and they want food trucks.

Primed to blossom

“The consumers have been excited about it,” Faulconer said. “Most of the local governments have been open to it. When you compare that to what I’ve read about in other cities — there are exceptions — but Provo and Utah County is right up there. Provo specifically is really at the forefront. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and say even nationally, we’re in the top tier of food truck communities.”

Bold words, especially for a food truck community that was practically nonexistent a few months ago. But considering the number of food trucks in the area — at least 20, according to Faulconer — it’s remarkably robust per capita. The fact that this boom happened during Utah Valley’s long and rather harsh winter makes it even more intriguing.

The Roundup, for example, started this past December. There were only a couple food trucks at first, and a modest turnout of a few hundred people over the course of the night. Anders Taylor, who helps manage the Startup Building, is one of the event’s co-founders, along with Faulconer. The Startup Building hosts wedding receptions and other events, which would occasionally incorporate food trucks. Taylor had seen food truck roundups in his hometown of San Francisco, and thought a similar event at the Startup Building would be good for everyone involved.

“It just kind of turned into something that was mutually beneficial,” Taylor said. “It was good for us, because we could get more people into the Startup Building and let them see what was going on, and it’s good for the food trucks because in the winter time it’s nice that they have a place inside that people can eat.”

As mentioned, the event’s popularity quickly ballooned. Taylor said the growth has been pretty organic: The event does a little marketing through social media, but word of mouth has been the driving force. For people to visit the roundup, though, there has to be food trucks, and local entrepreneurs have met the demand. Why here, and why now? According to Taylor, it’s a perfect matching of marketing techniques and consumer habits.

“A lot of these food trucks, they advertise pretty much exclusively through Instagram and Facebook,” he said. “I think Provo is a pretty young community and you have a lot of students and a lot of tech-savvy people. So I think food trucks can be pretty successful here.”

While the roundup has helped grow this niche, it’s only a part of the picture — these vendors get business all week at a variety of locations. Sam Schultz, who owns Sammy’s restaurant in downtown Provo, also consults The Mousetrap Truck, a new food truck that serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. He said the freedoms of a food truck probably attract entrepreneurs that might not be interested in running a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

“There are pros and cons,” Schultz said. “Having a food truck definitely lowers your overhead. You don’t have rent, unless you carry a loan on the truck. With a restaurant, you have to be open at a certain time at the same location every day. You don’t know how many people are going to show up. With a food truck, you can take a restaurant anywhere that has lots of traffic, and you can hopefully make a lot of money.”

Food trucks can set up shop in places underserved by restaurants, such as business parks or special events. The mobility helps, but it brings a host of challenges, too. The confines of a truck require a separate commissary for food storage and preparation. Then there are the cold and long winter months, when people aren’t as willing to wait outside for their food.

“I think sometimes people get the mistaken impression that it’s actually really easy, when it’s quite a bit of work,” Faulconer explained. “You get the idea that food magically appears and dishes magically get washed, and that all of the hygiene standards are magically met. In order to do all that, which we do, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort.”

Not without opposition

This growth of Provo’s food truck scene has undoubtedly been exciting for those involved. Faulconer said Provo’s food truck owners have fostered a “collegial atmosphere” among themselves, offering tips, support and encouragement. The Roundup’s success, he explained, made the food trucks’ owners realize how much more they could sell together than apart. Owners of downtown Provo’s brick-and-mortar restaurants, however, generally don’t share the same enthusiasm. Far from it.

Faulconer said many downtown restaurant owners have pushed against this trend. Provo’s city government has made considerable and well-publicized efforts to revitalize downtown, and a lot of these restaurant owners think food trucks are undermining that by drawing people elsewhere.

“I think largely that’s driven by fear and misunderstanding,” Faulconer said. “There are times when if I’m out with my wife, I’d much rather try to sit down and have a full-service dining experience over a truck. And there are times when I want to grab a burrito in a tin foil wrapper and go. They’re rarely competitive.”

The key to reconciliation, Faulconer said, is both sides realizing how they can help one another.

“I think sometimes we have this idea that we’re all fighting for the $18 in one dude’s wallet. And it’s just not the case,” he said. “What we should all be trying to do is bring more and more people downtown so that they’re all bringing their $18. I don’t want to be fighting anybody over one dude’s $18. What I want to do is work together to bring a thousand people downtown. To bring 3,000 people downtown. To bring 10,000 people downtown. Let’s have them all spend their money down here on things they enjoy.”

For now, people are turning out in droves for these new food trucks. But will it always be that way? As for the food trucks’ collective trajectory, opinions vary. Faulconer thinks the local industry will continue to experience growth through this summer, and possibly through the rest of the year, then taper slightly as some vendors discover just how difficult it really is. Schultz and Taylor, though, were a little more generous in their forecasts. Regardless of what happens, Taylor said the roundup and other events like it reveal a changing community — one that desires interconnectivity more than it used to.

“When I went to BYU, I spent a lot of time on campus and my apartment, going to different things. But I don’t think I met a lot of people outside the BYU community,” Taylor said. “But now I just live in Provo and I’m getting introduced to the Provo community. I feel like Provo’s a lot cooler than I thought it was. And I think the Roundup and the Rooftop Concert Series, and all these things that are going on, are great ways to meld students and the city together.”

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May 26, 2014
Kim Rivers

It’s Your Business: A sweet, savory food truck addition – Champaign/Urbana News


Martin Fuentes, center right, owner of Uncle Martin’s Sports Bar, is joined by his daughter, Berenice Fuentes, center left, and their family, including Sandra Fuentes, far left, Gustavo Valadez, background, a longtime worker and friend, Alex Funetes and Martin’s wife, Alma Fuentes, in Urbana on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

Chicken-and-waffles fare to debut at Urbana market

If you haven’t tried chicken-and-waffles, you may get your chance as soon as next Saturday at Urbana’s Market at the Square.

That’s expected to be the signature dish of the new Hendrick House food truck when it debuts at the market.

The dish consists of specially breaded chicken tenders served atop or inside a waffle (which may be made with savory seasoning) and drizzled with maple syrup, said Sue Dawson, vice president, food service, for Hendrick House.

However, the truck also will offer chicken tenders on their own, as well as waffles with fruit or syrup, she said.

The truck will also serve some side dishes — perhaps hash-brown potatoes or tater tots — and maybe some bacon, she added.

Dawson said Hendrick House has toyed with the idea of a food truck for a year or two. It acquired one about eight months ago, gutted it and re-equipped it. It’s a white truck with a green band at the bottom featuring images of wheat.

“It’s a great addition to the business load,” Dawson said, adding that Hendrick House can use the truck in serving fraternity and sorority clients, catering clients and corporate clients such as Kraft Foods and Yahoo.

Hendrick House feeds about 30 fraternities and sororities on the University of Illinois campus, as well as students who live at Hendrick House, Presby Hall and Armory House.

In addition to Market at the Square, Dawson said, “we’ll take it out to other festivals and events around town — some popular downtown spots, maybe late-night hours.”

Hendrick House has lots of staff during the school year, and some of them will be available to operate the food truck during the summer, Dawson said.

Sports bar on Cunningham

Uncle Martin’s Sports Bar has opened at 1104 N. Cunningham Ave., U, in the building that once housed El Toro Mexican restaurant.

Martin Fuentes, the owner of El Toro Loco — now located at 1601 N. Cunningham Ave., U — also owns Uncle Martin’s, which opened May 7.

“We serve typical American bar food,” said his daughter, Berenice Fuentes. “Wings, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, Texas-style fries, boneless wings, pickle spears, eight different burgers, other sandwiches and quesadillas.”

The restaurant also offers a few entrees, salads and a menu for kids, she said.

“We put up a bunch of TVs to make it more like a sports bar,” she said. “Families can come in, but there’s a bar atmosphere to it.”

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.

As of last week, the bar was not offering entertainment, but Fuentes said plans call for hosting salsa nights, country music nights and karaoke and perhaps adding poker machines, darts and a pool table.

After El Toro Loco moved to its new location in the fall of 2012, Louie’s Dixie Kitchen opened in the old building and operated there for several months.

Uncle Martin’s phone number is 607-1867.

Midtown redevelopment

The building on South First Street in Champaign that most recently housed Bombay Indian Grill has been purchased and is likely to be demolished later this year.

Dan Hamelberg said he acquired the building at 302 S. First St., C, from the Manzella family and plans to develop that and other nearby properties for apartments and retail use.

“We have all the lots from Springfield Avenue to White Street on the east side of First,” Hamelberg said last week. “We will start demolition later this year, probably in the fall.”

As part of the redevelopment project in Champaign’s Midtown area, Hamelberg said he expects to build 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of first-floor retail or office space, topped by three or four stories of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

“I’d like to see a nice sit-down restaurant and a sandwich-oriented restaurant, together taking 7,000 to 8,000 square feet, and then maybe some offices, such as real estate, accounting and dental offices,” he said.

Hamelberg said he’s talking with the Champaign Planning and Development Department about what role the city may have in his redevelopment. He said the city is particularly interested in the project since it is adjacent to the Second Street Reach detention basin.

The Bombay Indian Grill building on South First Street was originally built to house Little Italy restaurant, which opened in 1989. Basmati operated there from 1998 to 2008, and was succeeded by Bombay Indian Grill. That restaurant continues to operate its campus location at 401 E. Green St., C.

Take a gander

Gander Mountain’s new store in Champaign is scheduled to have a soft opening Tuesday, with a grand opening coming June 13-15, according to company spokesman Jess Myers.

The store at 2006 N. Prospect Ave., C, sits where a Circuit City store used to be.

Myers said several celebrities are expected to be on hand for the grand opening, including Chase Landry and Bruce Mitchell from The History Channel’s “Swamp People” series; Travis “T-Bone” Turner of “Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector” show on The Outdoor Channel; Tim Sylvia, two-time UFC heavyweight champion; and professional walleye angler Scott Duncan.

Could be a long wait

Don’t look for Megabus service to resume in Champaign when the new University of Illinois school year starts up.

Megabus discontinued service to Champaign on May 6 “due to insufficient ridership,” said Mike Alvich, vice president of marketing and public relations for the bus company. “It wasn’t high enough to cover our costs.”

Alvich said the company will eventually look at resuming service when it reviews its route structure. But he doesn’t look for service to begin again when students return to the UI next fall.

“I wouldn’t think so. It will be a longer period than that,” he said. “There’s a possibility (of resumption) as we see demand building in Champaign.”

Megabus made stops in Champaign as part of its service between Chicago and Memphis. The company makes two northbound and two southbound trips each day between those two cities, with a stop in St. Louis. Southbound buses are scheduled to leave Chicago at 9:05 a.m. and 9 p.m. and arrive in Memphis at 8:30 p.m. and 7:45 a.m., respectively. The schedule calls for northbound buses to leave Memphis at 9:20 a.m. and 9:10 p.m. and arrive in Chicago at 8:25 p.m. and 8:15 a.m., respectively.

Alvich said that on April 30, the company notified customers who had booked reservations on Megabus that it was discontinuing service to Champaign so they could make other travel arrangements. He said their tickets were refunded.

Megabus began serving Champaign in March 2008, with stops near the Illinois Terminal. The company — a subsidiary of Coach USA, which is owned by the Stagecoach Group — is best known for offering discount prices — sometimes as low as $1 — to those who book early at Today the company serves about 120 cities.

No mistake

A little more than a year after it opened in Champaign, Error Records announced last week that it’s moving to Urbana.

The shop at 702 S. Neil St., C, is expected to relocate to 123 W. Main St., U, sometime in late June, according to the firm’s Facebook page.

“We will be teaming up with Farm League Skateshop … to form a safe and inspiring collective for all ages,” the posting stated. “The core music venue and retail store of Error Records will stay the same, with just a few upgrades.”

Error Records sells vinyl records, cassette tapes, compact discs, DVDs and zines, which are often self-published magazines.

Firm gets Urbanafied

Personify, the video technology company cofounded by University of Illinois Professor Sanjay Patel, has opened an office in downtown Urbana.

The office, at 208 W. Main St., U, joins offices in downtown Chicago and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Personify’s technology allows people who are making presentations remotely to blend their image with the content they are presenting. The firm got its start in 2010 at the EnterpriseWorks business incubator in the UI Research Park in Champaign.

The company’s phone number is 855-747-9940.

Also opening nearby, in [co][lab] at 206 W. Main St., is the office of Digital Equality Initiative. The not-for-profit group, founded by Brian Bell, accepts donated computer equipment from various agencies, refurbishes the equipment and delivers it to low-income citizens, students and not-for-profit community centers.

Targeted commercials

Lexington, Ky.-based Viamedia has agreed to provide Mattoon-based Consolidated Communications with advertising services for Consolidated’s IPTV service area in central Illinois.

Consolidated provides TV service over phone lines to customers in an area that extends north to Atwood, east to Charleston, south to Sigel and west to Litchfield, said Consolidated spokeswoman Laura ZuHone.

Viamedia, which provides advertising representation to Consolidated service areas in Sacramento, Calif., and Kansas City, Kan., will now also provide those services in East Central Illinois and in areas around Pittsburgh served by Consolidated.

Viacom will work with businesses in and around Champaign to put together advertising campaigns. The company specializes in selling market-based advertising to local, regional and national advertisers on behalf of U.S. cable and telecommunications service providers.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227; by email at; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It’s Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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May 26, 2014
Tim Lester

Travellers savour Indian street food

New Delhi: Street food has come to occupy prominent space on the menus of various luxury boutique hotels in the national capital and seems to be favourite among travellers. From renovating menus to adding new innovative dishes on the platter, five star hotels in the capital are adding flavours from the streets of Delhi among traditionally-served international cuisine. Hotels which had been offering Italian, Pan-Asian to Americana and continental cuisines, are making space for dishes like ‘Aloo Chaat’, ‘Chana masala’, and tandoori dishes, which are typical to the capital.

‘Chaat Platter’ is one of the hot favourite dishes in Delhi’s The Park hotel, that has captured attention with food lovers. “A surprising number of tourists, and corporates, who do not have time to eat chaat outside on the streets of Delhi like to try the flavour here,” says Abhishek Basu, the executive Chef at The Park Hotel. “From Delhi Chaat platter to tandoori tikka, we have a wide range of Delhi street food to offer to the food lovers among the newly introduced international cuisine,” says Basu.

Five star hotels like Taj Mansingh and The Imperial have successfully included tandoori delicacies among Malaysian, Thai, South Indian, Sea Food, and Japanese cuisines. Culinary cooking sensation Vikas Khanna, however believes that whereas street food inspires his cooking style, it is beyond his capacity to reproduce the taste that is served on the streets.

“One cannot do better street food than the people who serve on the streets. To be really honest, I can’t do it,” Mr Khanna said. “I can’t re-create the same ‘golgappa paani’ in my kitchen. That particular ‘paani’ has its own texture and flavour which is hard to get in a room similar to an operation theatre (the restaurant kitchens),” Mr Khanna says. On the contrary, hotels promise the same taste acquired from the streets and “try to keep the rustic flavour intact in their dishes.” Not only from Delhi, but street-borne dishes countries like Italy, Japan and Indo-nesia are also gaining prominence in the restaurants.

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May 26, 2014
Jim Benson

Tasty Thursdays: Food Cart News!

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:55 am

Tasty Thursdays: Food Cart News!

Portland Radio Project

The Hermiston Herald


PRP.FM now has an official food cart correspondent: author Steven Shomler, who recently published his first book, “Portland Food Cart Stories.”

Now, on Tasty Thursdays, Steven will pop into the PRP.FM studio with the latest food cart news — and mouth-watering foodie events.

© 2014 Hermiston Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:55 am.

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May 26, 2014
Jim Benson

Bad news, food cart fans: Days numbered for Hawthorne’s Cartopia


The days appear to be numbered for one of Portland’s iconic food cart pods.

A developer is planning to build apartments at Southeast 12th and Hawthorne, the current home to the popular food cart pod known as Cartopia.

The new development is set to go up by next year, with the sale expected to close by this winter.

Developer Vic Remmers told FOX 12 the plan is to build three stories of bike-friendly apartments on top of retail space. He said there are no plans to include parking spaces with the new building due to the size of the lot.

The owner of Perierra Creperie, a Cartopia food cart, said he just learned about the sale on Wednesday.

Dustin Knox said moving the cart to another location is an option as is possibly opening up in the new building’s planned retail space.

“It is sad that we’re losing all of our food cart pods,” he said. “It’s sad that this one’s going away, but it’s part of development. It’s part of change. I’m not into it, I’m not into losing the community I get, but I do see the bright side.”

Customers also said they understand, seeing as how apartments are constantly in demand in Portland. Still, it doesn’t mean they won’t miss their favorite food carts.

“I was just talking with a friend today about what a low apartment vacancy Portland has, so I understand it and yet, this is Portland, this is why people come here, this is why people move here. This is why people live in the Hawthorne District,” one customer said.

Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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May 26, 2014
Jim Benson

Food cart pod closing for apartment complex

PORTLAND – An iconic Portland food truck pod is going away.

“Cartopia” in Southeast Portland pioneered the food cart phenomenon six years ago. The business owners helped create the image that much of the nation has of Portland.

The Oregonian broke the story Thursday that the space at Southeast 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard currently occupied by “Cartopia” is being turned into an apartment building — an apartment building without a garage, to encourage biking and public transportation.

For the people who run these carts, and those who love eating from them, losing “Cartopia” means a lot more than getting rid of a favorite place to eat.

Some say the move is erasing part of the neighborhood’s identity.

“I think it’s a real tragedy for Portland to lose these food carts,” said Sophia Kecskes, a food cart customer.

Coral Bass said these carts are unique, and that’s why she’s been a customer.

“How many places can you get really drunk and come and get potatoes at two in the morning. Really, this is like the only place. And that’s a shame. That’s a shame for Portlanders,” she said.

As hilarious as that sounds, Dustin Knox, owner of the Perriera Creperie cart, says it speaks to a greater truth. People like “Cartopia” because it is inclusive, homegrown, accessible, and high quality. In other words, it’s Portland.

“That’s a really hard spot for a 16 to 25 years old, who don’t have the means to go out to a nice restaurant,” said Knox. “But we gave them this. And now it’s slowly being taken away.”

Knox also said the neighborhood will not become “bougie” once the food carts are gone.

“It won’t turn into the Pearl District. It will not. There are too many kids running around graffiting things.”

There was no word yet as to when “Cartopia” will close, but Knox says he’s preparing for this summer to be the last.


KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report

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May 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

TGI Fridays Gets Into the Food Truck Game

TGI Fridays is ready to get hip.

The chain that began as a handful of bars for single people in the 1970s turned family-friendly mega-chain in the late 80s is working hard to bring young people back through the doors. TGI Fridays’ solution: the millennial-friendly food truck.

Fridays is hitting the road with the “Summer of Fridays Road Tour,” driving food trucks selling TGI Friday’s menu favorites across America.  The trucks will stop in 20 cities and towns, including Minneapolis, Houston and Brooklyn. The stops primarily coincide with various festivals, such as the Boston Calling Music Festival and a Taste of Dallas.

Related: Longtime Owner Sells TGI Fridays for $800 Million

The trucks are accompanied by a four-man team of “storytellers,” dedicated to “bringing you the best of handcrafted America.” Summer of Fridays’ website presents bios, websites and Instagram shots of these photography-minded “storytellers,” as well as photos that strongly fit the hipster stereotype: heavily filtered, trendily dressed in vests and plaid, and no eye contact with the camera. 

TGI Fridays seems to be following the Taco Bell model creating business by appealing to millennials. However, while Taco Bell has struck gold with it’s over the top, tongue-in-cheek style, TGI Fridays needs to be careful not to hop on the food truck trend right as the oversaturated market makes the trend go from “cool” to “mainstream,” or worse, “passé.” 

With TGI Fridays recent sale from its longtime owner for $800 million, the chain is clearly ready to revamp its image and bring in new customers. The question is – will millennials bite? 

Related: The Real Reason Taco Bell Made the Waffle Taco

Kate Taylor is a staff writer for

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May 25, 2014
Kim Rivers

Anderson Food Truck Rally June 21

Anderson Township is hosting its first food truck rally Saturday, June 21, at the Anderson Center Station, 7832 Five Mile Road.

From 4-10 p.m, there will be an evening full of food, fun and entertainment, all centered around 10 food trucks.

This first-time event in Anderson was inspired by the success of food truck festivals in other nearby communities, said Molly Mohrfield, one of the event organizers.

“This is gourmet food by real chefs, not just a fast food option,” Mohrfield said.

Today’s food trucks offer specialty food items, organic choices and a list of fusion foods that take gourmet foods and merge them with the traditional.

Live music, kid’s entertainment and a cruise-in also is planned.

Mobile food purveyors include: C’est Cheese, P P Woodfired Pizza, EAT! Mobile Dining, Roll With It Mobile Café, Streetpops, Sugarsnap! Truck, Waffo, Texas Joe, Bistro de Mohr, and Kaimelsky’s.

Spirits provided by Harmony Hill Winery and Mt. Carmel Brewing Company.

Contact Nancy Downs or Molly Mohrfield at 688-8400 or, for more information.

Sponsors are Anderson Township, the Anderson Foundation for Parks Recreation, and the Cincinnati Food Truck Association.

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