Food News

The Food TruckFest: It's a Race. And a Food Truck Party. In a Mall Parking Lot. Anyone?

U.S. Food Trucks, a company that builds, leases, sells and consults on mobile meal makers, recently announced what it's calling the first-annual state-wide Food TruckFest. The event combines approximately 30 food trucks from as far as San Antonio with a 5K race. (As if 3.2 miles could put a dent in an afternoon that combines grilled cheese and brisket tacos.)

Food truck events have been popping up everywhere lately, so I called organizer Michael Rangel, president of US Food Trucks, to find out what makes this one different.

Parking, tables for grubbing and access to bathrooms have been issues at many of these events. Rangel plans to tackle them all with the location he's chosen: Valley View Center Mall. It obviously has plenty of parking, and the mall doors will be left open for attendees who don't want to brave the appetizing confines of a portable toilet. The mall actually has some catering infrastructure, too, so food truck participants have limited access to frozen and dry storage as well as prep space. As for seating, Rangel says they're renting at least 600 chairs.

While eating from food trucks in a shopping mall parking lot lacks romance, the event sounds well-organized. And coupling a food truck gathering with an outdoor stage for live music and DJs and a 5K should draw a pretty diverse crowd. The success of the event will hinge on the quality of the trucks they confirm -- the website currently lists 17 participants -- and the vendor's ability to meet demand. Waiting in line for 20 minutes for a banh mi is one thing, but waits have crossed the hour mark at some of these things.

Another new variable for Dallas is a $5 admission charge. Rangel says the fee will cover fences, toilets, police support and other logistics. He also told me 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Santa Anita Food Truck Festival in California charged a $5 admission to its event this winter. A Haute Wheels event in Houston is charging $16. plus a $1.87 fee because, you know -- what's a ticket without a fee these days?

The Dallas event runs May 11 through 12. More info here.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz