The Food Truck Rodeo at Durham Central Park over Labor Day weekend was the largest food truck rodeo in the Triangle to date. There were over 45 local trucks participating offering all kinds of culinary delights ranging from Detroit style pizza, dumplings, Korean BBQ, gourmet donuts, to raw healthy vegetarian foods! The event organizers organizers, Becky Cascio of Pie Pushers and Brian Bottger of Only Burger did an outstanding job coordinating this rodeo. Not only was the truck turnout impressive but the layout and spacing of the trucks really helped with the customer lines and crowd control making for a very enjoyable experience.
Trucks were lined up under the Farmer’s Market pavillion and along Foster and Hunt Street. To help limit generator noise, a large (and very quiet) industrial sized generator from Hertz was used to power all of the trucks at the rodeo which eliminating the need for individual generators which are often much noisier. I don’t make it to too many of these rodeos because I usually catch my favorite trucks on their regular visits to places like Fullsteam Brewery in Durham and Big Boss Brewery in Raleigh but I couldn’t resists seeing all of the trucks in one place.
I also wanted to check out some of the newer trucks on scene like the Philly Cheese Steak truck pictured above. They are the newest truck out of Raleigh, and regularly setup in the parking lot of Gypsy Jule on North West Street in downtown Raleigh on weekend nights. Although I didn’t get a chance to sample their food that day, they are now on the top of my list to try!
I also spotted the The Humble Pig truck. They have been around for a while now, but I’ve never seen their truck during my travels before and thought I would grab this shot of the crowd getting in the line to buy some of their well regarded locally sourced bar-b-que. I like the little pig in their logo too. So many trucks were there that day and I had so little time eat. I hope to find their truck again soon.
As I walked along Foster Street I came upon another truck I hadn’t seen before It was a blue truck called Gussy’s Greek. As the name implies they feature Greek fare like gyros, grilled chicken pita sandwiches, homemade hummus, falafel and Greek salads. I liked the look of the truck (upon looking over the truck I realized it was the old Slippin’ Sliders truck) and the customers I spoke to were very excited about the food the got from Gussy’s. So now I have them on my list to try soon as well!
It is always good to go to these rodeos with a plan in mind. Know what trucks you want to try and get to them early. If you spend too much time meandering around, the lines will grow long before you make up your mind on what to eat. On this occasion I was determined to try one of the sandwiches from the Sympathy for the Deli truck. They are mobile deli serving sandwiches made with locally-sourced, sustainable meats, all hand-cured, roasted, and smoked in Durham. I got in line as soon as I arrived to beat the crowd and was rewarded with the most amazing sandwich I have ever had.
The smoked turkey sandwich I purchased from Sympathy For The Deli had incredible smoked turkey meat topped with lettuce, locally grown tomatoes, onion, herb mayo, and swiss cheese. All nestled between warm toasted sourdough bread. I also had a side of their signature spicy pickled sugar snap peas that they call “Peakles”.
The sandwich was amazing! It was full of flavorful chunks of succulent smoked turkey that went great with the herb mayo and veggie toppings. They bread was fantastic too – it was thick (but not too thick) and toasted yet had a soft center making the sandwich very easy to eat! I loved this sandwich and thought the “Peakles” were a tasty and creative side. I can’t wait to try another sandwich from them and plan to do a more in-depth review of their truck and food offerings soon.
Just because it is a food truck doesn’t mean the food you get from it can’t be healthy. A perfect example of this is the Triangle Raw Foods truck. Matthew Daniels and Jane Howard Crutchfield, the folks behind TRF, offer raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, meatless meals. They come to the rodeo with their meals already prepared so there is no wait time which is another huge plus.
On this particular day their menu featured pad thai, green burritos, tunot nori rolls, asian marinated kale, sweet potato & apple salad, and pumpkin & chocolate tarts. I stopped by and said hello to Matt and Jane, who are both fantastic people by the way, and picked up some of the tunot nori rolls and pumpkin tarts to take home and share with my wife. We both thoroughly enjoyed their healthy raw food creations and I look forward to trying more of their menu items in the future.
Some have speculated that the food truck scene in the Triangle may have reached capacity with over 45 trucks now serving the area. However, I think there is always room for a new idea as long as it is executed well. I found it very interesting to see a food truck dedicated to Dogs. It is called the Paws4Ever Waggin’ Wagon and serves gourmet treats four our four-legged friends. Not surprisingly, the truck was quite popular with many customers in the crowd who had their dogs along with them. I heard later through twitter that the Waggin’ Wagon was completely sold out by the end of the day!
If you missed the rodeo this time around there will be another massive Food Truck Roundup at Durham’s Central Park next month on October 28th. You can also view the rest of my pics from the latest rodeo in my flickr photo album.