KEEP ON TRUCKIN’
Food trucks prove a driving force for culinary innovation and business success.
WRITTEN BY BARBARA TWITCHELL
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY
PHOTO BY MICHAEL OKIMOTO
When you think about it, a food truck is the ultimate version of al fresco dining, with cuisine created, served, and consumed outdoors. And, locally, this motorized version of a moveable feast appears to be in the fast lane to success.
Steve Schroeder, owner of the area’s premier food truck event — Reno Street Food’s Food Truck Friday – has been at the forefront of this movement since its inception.
“Five years ago, there were just eight food trucks in Reno,” Schroeder says. “There are now more than eighty!”
Additionally, Schroeder says total gross sales tallied by independent vendors participating in that company’s 20 events held last summer were more than $1.5 million.
That figure, coupled with estimated attendance of up to 3,500 at Food Truck Friday each week, and a Facebook page with almost 20,000 followers affirm the local appeal of the food truck movement. What’s more, our area appears to be a cutting-edge leader, with Reno’s Food Truck Friday ranked as one of the Top 10 largest food truck events in the nation, according to Schroeder.
With summer in full bloom, and a myriad of food truck festivals popping up all over the region, it’s time to get out and enjoy these local culinary caravans. Here are some of the main ones to check out.
Food Truck Friday is held each Friday, 5 – 9 p.m., in Reno’s Idlewild Park, through Sept. 29. It is the area’s largest mobile food event, with 35 – 40 food trucks featuring a wide variety of cuisines, desserts, craft beers, mixed drinks, and wine. Live music and the park atmosphere, including a playground and train rides for children, make it a great family activity. Take a blanket or lawn chairs and a healthy appetite! Note: This is a no-dogs-allowed event. For details, call 775-825-2665 or visit find Reno Street Food on Facebook.
Truckee Thursdays runs every Thursday, 5 – 8:30 p.m., until Aug. 17. Donner Pass Road through historic downtown Truckee is closed to traffic and filled with food, music, and 100 artisan booths. This annual, serial street festival, drawing 3,000 –5,000 attendees weekly, is the biggest fundraiser for the nonprofit Truckee Downtown Merchants Association. Proceeds fund downtown beautification, holiday lighting, and scholarships for local high school graduates. For details, visit Truckeethursdays.com.
Feed The Camel happens every Wednesday (hump day!), 5 – 8:30 p.m., until Aug. 30, under the Keystone Bridge, by the McKinley Arts & Culture Center on Riverside Drive in Reno. This easygoing, family- and dog-friendly event features eight to 14 trucks serving great food, desserts, beers, and margaritas. Take your blanket and have a picnic at the park, or just drive through and pick up food to enjoy at home. For details, email Feedthecamel@yahoo.com or find Feed The Camel on Facebook.
De-Truckin’-licious Thursdays is a new event this year. It will run 4 – 9 p.m. every Thursday through September, on the clubhouse patio at Lakeridge Golf Course in Reno. Organizers plan to provide three food and two dessert trucks each week for this low-key, family- and pet-friendly event that is open to the public. For details, call 775-825-2200.
The Eddy-fication of Reno
The Eddy, which opened this spring along the RiverWalk in downtown Reno, put a whole new twist on the street food/food truck scene. By utilizing 10 shipping containers to house three bars and several retail outlets for local artists and boutiques — then adding a fire pit, sculptures, bocce courts, assorted games, and a dedicated space for food trucks — a vacant lot was ingeniously transformed into an amazing outdoor community space.
The full-service bars offer a total of 24 beers, a dozen wines, and specialty cocktails. There’s room for three food trucks at a time, with the vendors changing daily to ensure food options remain interesting and diverse. The venue is family and pet friendly with a fun, happening vibe and will operate fully nine months of the year. Find The Eddy on Facebook.
The era when food trucks were called roach coaches and served low-quality food is long gone. Today’s food trucks offer delicious gourmet cuisines, interesting ethnic fares, and impressively creative specialties. And the best part is that they can roll up just about anywhere, anytime. Here’s a sampling of a few you’ll find at most of these events:
Still Rollin creates wildly different, fusion-flavored egg rolls. Employees roll up almost anything in pursuit of amazing flavor combinations. Like it spicy? Try Ando Mando’s buffalo mac roll! Stillrollinfoodtruck.com
Battle Born Nobody does meat sandwiches better. Its mouthwatering specialty is slow-cooked tri-tip in sandwiches, chili, and even nachos. Yum! Battleborntruck.com
Codfather cooks up great fish dishes. Don’t miss its fabulous shrimp tacos, marinated in tequila and served with a delicious sauce. Also try the corn fritters with chipotle honey drizzle. Codfatherreno.com
Nom Eats offers deliciously inspired vegan burritos, tacos, and sandwiches. Be sure to try the Philly cheez steak (no animal products are used) burrito or Cali burrito. Renonomeats.com
Food Evolution (an affiliate of Sushi Pier), brought to you by the owners of Sushi Pier in Reno, presents the interesting combination of Mexican-Asian-fusion sushi. Expect the unexpected from this delicious marriage of flavors. Foodevolutionreno.com
The Soul From Seoul features authentic Korean barbecue — the barbecue pork and kimchi get rave reviews from customers. For details, call 775-685-8202 or find The Soul From Seoul Food Trailer on Facebook.
Winey Munkies serves up ingenious creations: wine ice cream, wine sorbet, and wine floats. Lick your liquor? Why not? For details, call 775-440-1295 or visit Wineymunkies.com.
Intrigued as she is by all of these, writer Barbara Twitchell confesses, unapologetically, that she’s going to head straight for that wine sorbet!