In case you missed it, this past Sunday downtown Raleigh was the host of a huge food truck rodeo – the biggest ever in Raleigh with over 40 food trucks in attendance. Trucks were set up along Fayetteville Street starting just south of the Capital Building. The inaugural event ran from noon to 5pm on Sunday, but if you missed it don’t worry, similar food truck events will be held on June 9th, August 11th, and October 13th. Visit DowntownRaleighFoodTruckRodeo.com for updates about future events.
Raleigh has checkered past with food trucks. While the food truck rules in the City of Oaks are not quite as lenient as in Durham, contrary to popular belief foods trucks are allowed in Raleigh. This was just the first time so many of them were all together at one time here in Raleigh. All in all I think the event organizers did a good job with this first event. There were over 40 trucks spanning a wide range of cuisine including meatball sandwiches, pizza, Korean bbq, and dumplings. Several of the local fan favorites were on hand like Klausie’s Pizza, Chirba Chirba, and American Meltdown. There were also a few new trucks I’ve never seen before from neighboring Greensboro like Urban Street Grill, and Great Escape.
Everyone I talked to was appreciative of the seating areas provided so people had a place to sit and eat instead of being forced to stand and balance their plates. Of course there were some complaints about the usual long lines and wait times for some of the more popular trucks, but I have been to enough of these events to know it comes with the territory. Some say you should have more trucks, but honestly that just draws even more people and the popular trucks will always have a big fan base waiting in line. In general a good rule of thumb is to come early and come with a game plan so you don’t waste time looking for trucks you want to try.
Another great aspect of the rodeo was that it featured some of our great local breweries too. Three local breweries, Aviator Brewing, Carolina Brewing Company, and the City of Oaks newest addition Raleigh Brewing Company, were all on hand selling their brew. All three did a great job of ensuring they had enough beer and kept the line of thirsty rodeo fans moving.
Several of my favorite trucks were at the rodeo and I made a point of hitting them first before the long lines started forming. I got a smoked turkey sandwich from Sympathy for the Deli and followed it up with a “Thin Mint” cupcake from Sweet Stacey Cakes. I never miss a chance to get food from these trucks when I see them and they never disappoint. Both really hit the spot on Sunday! Another favorite of mine is the Parlour Ice Cream truck. Their salted caramel ice cream is heavenly!
Looking back on Sunday’s event I think this first large scale rodeo in Raleigh will go down as a big success for the city and serve as an example of the growing demand for such events in Raleigh. Hopefully city leaders will continue to recognize the positive role food trucks play in the evolving downtown scene and will create an environment that encourages more of these events in the future. For information about future food truck rodeos in Raleigh check out DowntownRaleighFoodTruckRodeo.com or follow them on facebook.