“Do you have any food left?” That was the question posed most often at Saturday’s inaugural Food Truck Eats event in the Distillery District whenever hungry folks reached the front of the line after queuing for up to an hour. Not surprisingly, pretty much all of the vendors were sold out of food before the event was supposed to end by mid-afternoon. After all, trucks aren’t built to feed 3,000 people but hey, a crowded event is a happy event.
Though he didn’t have a van, Darryl Koster of Buster Rhino’s Southern BBQ sold all 516 of his sandwiches in two hours. A good sign, considering he’s planning to open a downtown location. We were lucky enough to be the third last people to sample ex-Hoof Café chef Geoff Hopgood’s chicken croquettes at his stand (pictured below), where chef Guy Rawlings was helping out by making rhubarb and rose smoothies. (The two have teamed up to do some catering on the side.) As for news of Hopgood opening his own place, he said it’ll take a while for the actual restaurant to materialize.
One of the most popular trucks was undoubtedly Niagara’s El Gastronomo Vagabundo, whose lines exceeded an hour. Co-owner Adam Hynam-Smith said they sold 150 orders of wings, 380 pork belly buns and 200 tacos an hour before the event was supposed to end. (The last pork buns went to two young ladies right in front of us.) They’ll be back for the second food-truck rally on Aug. 20, also at the Distillery District; organizer Suresh Doss has Tweeted who else is confirmed for that event so far.
So lessons learned from Saturday: Torontonians love food trucks, so the city better get rid of the red tape. Also: the best strategy is to just blindly line up for something and be pleasantly surprised with what food you end up with.