SPOTLIGHT: Street Fare…

Photos by TOVI OYERVIDEZ and SARA MARSHALL/PLAINSMAN PRESS

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by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief

Food on four wheels is the greatest thing since mac’n’cheese.

Food trucks are usually associated with metropolitan areas such as Dallas or San Antonio, where there are people on every corner at any given moment of the day.

The original idea for the modern food truck was born from 19th century Texas chuck wagons. Settlers moving west needed to have food as they traveled, so cooks would have wooden wagons filled with cooking utensils and food items to provide for those traveling.

Eventually, the chuck wagon evolved into little, unclean vans hauling ready-to-eat foods around major cities. These type of food trucks were known as “roach coaches,” known mostly for being unclean and cheap.

Next, the gourmet food truck scene became trendy. Food trucks began specializing in certain styles, exotic and even organic foods. These types of trucks typically can be seen in major cities such as Los Angeles, El Paso, New York City and Miami. But people are beginning to start up food trucks in metro and rural areas alike. The most successful food trucks in these areas tend to focus on a specific niche, such as hot dogs, tacos, gyros or donuts.

Today, these food trucks now make up a $1 billion industry. These mobile businesses have also become increasingly popular due to American’s wish to seek out faster, easier ways to grab food on the go, but still retain the quality of restaurant-style food.

These restaurants on wheels have become a culinary staple in today’s food culture in Texas and Cody Delgado has worked day and night to ensure Lubbock could have a piece of this trendy phenomenon.

“We organize the festival to let the city of Lubbock know that food trucks are here to stay and serve the community,” Delgado said.

The 2nd Saturday Food Truck Festival took place on Sept. 10 between the South Plains Mall and Home Depot near Slide road and the Loop 289 in Lubbock. It featured 19 food trucks participating in the festival, which is an improvement from the 15 trucks last month.

Many of these trucks were not just from the Lubbock area, but from all over West Texas. Some drove from the Odessa/Midland area, while others came from as far away as San Antonio.

These trucks included Mexican-themed food trucks such as Dos Hermanas, Guadalajara and Halo Penos, barbeque trucks such as J & D BBQ, Cookhouse Catering, Hank’s BBQ and Fire & Ice Grill, as well as food trucks selling sweeter treats such as Street Sweets, Cupcake Ave and Kurbside Sweets. American food choices were also featured by food trucks such as Zippity Doo Dog’s Burgers, Ms. V’s Homecookin’ and Cheese Chicks.

Street Sweets offered a selection of cotton candy, lemonade and other extremely sweet goodies out of their bright red food truck. Dos Hermanas offered a wide range of “street-style” tacos. Hank’s BBQ provided the usual barbecue fair of brisket, pork and sausage. Cheese Chicks had several types of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

At the beginning of the day, vendors lacked large crowds due to cold, dreary weather. But by mid afternoon, people began growing hungry and lines grew longer with each passing moment.

Though there were several varieties of food trucks, some event-goers were still disappointed in the food choices presented.

“It was about what I expected,” said Cindy Walker Mcfaul. “I’m from Amarillo, so I kinda expected a little more mom-and-pop ethnic trucks. I would love to see more of that.”

Many people attending the event praised the food trucks for their hard work and good food.

“They had awesome selections of food,” said Lexie Renee, a Lubbock resident. “The street tacos were my favorite.”

Those who own food trucks dedicate their hearts, time and even their lives to providing the public with delicious food and drink items at any time of day.

“Food trucking isn’t for everyone, and it’s a hard job,” said Daniel Antonio Jimenez, owner of the Midland-based food truck Cookhouse Catering. “But when you have a passion for cooking, it’s a blessing. The festival was a hit, and we will definitely be back for the next one.”

All of the food trucks participating this month’s Food Truck Festival hope to return for October’s festival to experience more of Lubbock and the residents.

“Families and community can come together to relax and have fun food,” said Lisa Young Hill, owner of Street Sweets. “And the festival has a very casual and relaxed atmosphere. The families that own food trucks are your local neighbors and friends.”

The positive feedback from both vendors and event participants proves that Lubbock is slowly becoming a much larger hub for popular trends. Because of the popularity of food trucks, it allows Lubbock to grow and develop a new economic niche that was not present prior to this new trend.

Though Delgado has only been in the business of food trucks since March, he’s hopeful for the next 2nd Saturday Food Truck Festival.

“We would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting our food trucks,” Delgado said. “This event was amazing, the food was amazing and everyone overall enjoyed themselves. Preparation shall now begin for the next festival.”

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