Thousands Flock to Cary’s First Food Truck Rodeo
Cary, NC — The moment we have all been waiting for finally happened this past Sunday: Cary held its first major food truck rodeo. And, despite the threat of rain, crowds mobbed the downtown.
CaryCitizen was there, and we declared it a resounding success!
15 Food Trucks
There were 17 food trucks lining West Chatham Street from the corner of South Academy, to the intersection with North Harrison. Variety was the spice of life, with trucks including La Farm Bakery, Stuft potatoes, Sol Tacos, American Meltdon (grilled cheese), a couple barbecue trucks and Philly Cheese Steaks. There was a donut truck and another specializing in frozen treats. Prices were reasonable, with most trucks selling sandwiches for about $7 -$9.
Well not exactly. More like an alcohol cannot be taken beyond this point – as there was only one brewery, local favorite Fortnight, and the local winery Chatham Hill , but they were set up in an “alcohol was not permitted beyond this point ” area.
But what an area! Lovely shady umbrella tables were set up with ample seating on the front yard of the Ivey Ellington Waddel House, and a live acoustic musician played and sang while folks sipped and grabbed a bite.
Speaking of seating, unlike what we’ve heard takes place at Durham’s food truck rodeos, the Town of Cary provided ample seating in several locations for folks who preferred to sit rather than stand to eat their food truck finds.
I arrived early (noon), to be sure I found decent parking and planned on having several samples for lunch. People were already filling the town lots and streaming onto the street with me.
I scoped out the offerings and decided to try the Cajun truck called baton Rouge Cuisine, seeing as there’s not a lot of that type food available on a regular basis here in Cary. Their offerings included jambalaya and gumbo and my choice which was a shrimp ettouffe. I was not disappointed. My $7 included a creamy roux sauce with baby shrimp and vegetables all served over white rice. Just the right amount of kick.
I then ventured over to visit our friends at Fortnight for one of my favorite porters to wash it all down.
The event had a real festival feel, the weather was cool and folks were in no hurry. I then decided to bring something home for my husband, who requested a Philly cheesesteak. That was the only snafu in an otherwise perfect day. After standing in the lengthy line for about 20 minutes, without any progress, I asked someone to save my spot while I investigated. We discovered that those at the front had been waiting an hour.
A quick decision had me visiting Olio and Aceto, who made a pork loin with grilled kale sandwich on a pretzel roll in 5 minutes for $9. It, too, was outstanding.
Let’s hope this is the start of something regular because I’d say this event was a home run!
Story by Lindsey Chester and photos by Brian Speice for CaryCitizen.
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This is brilliant! Well done, Cary!
For a moment there, I thought you were going to follow in the bootsteps of Durham and beat on the NIMBY drum, but common sense prevailed!
Durham resisted the food trucks at the behest of the brick & mortar establishments, saying that they can’t compete with the low overhead of the trucks. Which is entirely true! They can’t, and would quickly be put out of business.
But what the Durham City Council didn’t find out until *later*, was that a very large percentage of food trucks are successful on a long-term basis. And they’re profitable. So profitable in fact, that after 3-5 years of building up a loyal customer base, those same trucks open a B&M establishment!
The trucks keep rolling and forking in the dough, while the B&M acts as both home base and a *tax* base. The B&M shops tend to be loss-leaders for a few years, but having the truck can pull them through the first 3 years, which are critical for any establishment.
This is truly a win-win all around, for the people *and* the city of Cary. Well done! Well done indeed!
I’m pleased Cary’s first food truck rodeo was a success. Any event that acquaints Caryite’s with our Downtown is a worthy endeavor. However, will someone please explain how this event helped any of our Downtown restaurants or merchants given that, according to the listing of trucks participating, not one of them belonged to any Downtown business owner (although there are three known)? Don’t mean to rain on the food truck parade but a Downtown event that doesn’t include Downtowner’s seems somehow amiss.
There is something about eating on the street from a food truck that just makes it fun. It’s hot, messy and definitely feels like an indulgence. However, I was sorely disappointed in the line lengths–it felt more like Disney’s newest attraction at Spring Break, than waiting in line for lunch–despite the heavenly smells. As mentioned above, I estimated the wait to be in excess of an hour for almost all the trucks. We ended up leaving and eating at a local Cary restaurant. I hope the event is repeated, and they invite more trucks and try to organize the wait lines.
The rodeo was in keeping with everything the Town does: it was fabulous. As for those “lines”… were there any? The rodeo was perfect. It was great to be having fun, enjoying the weather, anticipating the food and drinks, not having to cook dinner. Town of Cary, there’s no need to “organize” the wait lines. We can all just wait our turns.