Monday, October 8, 2012

Rain dampens spirits but doesn't deter food truck faithful

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 8:47 AM

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  • KEVIN SHALIN

It seems like the Main Street Food Truck Festival just can't catch a break. Last year's event was inundated by much greater than expected crowds, and the subsequent grumbling about long lines and food shortages was something that the organizers of this year's event took to heart and made a great effort to avoid — only to have the first chilly autumn rainstorm of the year come along and soak the whole thing down. Still, the vendors I saw were trying to keep everybody's spirits up, and while my own photos were nothing but a soggy mess, Kevin Shalin of The Mighty Rib managed to get some good shots before the rain and thunder got too heavy.

This year's festival was to feature over thirty trucks, nearly forty craft booths, and three beer gardens, but by the time I arrived those numbers had significantly dropped, although the folks at the Tallgrass Brewing tent still seemed to be doing brisk business from their area of relative shelter. And there were still several local favorites out serving up food to a small, but dedicated crowd — Sugar Shack Sweets reported selling out by around 2 p.m., and the guys from Southern Gourmasian reported record sales. There were still more people on Main than you'd usually see on a Saturday afternoon, and the wet, chilly weather didn't hurt the flavor of the food at all. More pictures after the jump.

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The Haute Wheels truck was out, and owner Nancy Dyer proved once again that she's a master of the porcine arts with her Cuban sandwich. Nancy's also pretty talented with chicken salad, serving it in a unique way — small sliders.

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I'm not often able to make it downtown to visit Red River Catering, but the few times I've eaten with them have been memorable. Fresh catfish, hushpuppies, and this crazy (and delicious) barbecue nachos dish make them one of the strongest trucks serving up "good ol' boy" food in town.

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Folks that got the worst of the bad weather were the mobile cart operators like Philly's To Go and Hot Dog Mike. Both of those guys were still hard at it, though, greeting everybody with a friendly smile and the promise of hot food. I had to admire their spirit, even when I was questioning their sanity.

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All things considered, the Main Street Food Truck Festival was still a success this year. The organizers and vendors went out of their way to solve the problems that plagued the event last year, and while the rain slowed things down, it didn't deter many of the folks who love their food trucks. Things can only get better from here, and I'm positive that next year's event will be even better.

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