On Saturday, Charlotte food trucks gathered in the South End and fought for Food Truck supremacy!
I never heard of this event before. However, with this being the 2nd Annual Food Fight, I guess I should be relieved on not knowing. The event pitted 12 of food trucks (10 entree, 2 dessert) for the title of Best Food Truck. To determine who would win the fight, there were 10 judges who visited each truck and rated them based on certain criteria (I got a glimpse of the scoring sheet and I immediately thought I was back in Calculus class).
While food trucks were busy trying to please the judges and the people (who awarded the People’s Choice by votes), there were local bands playing on a stage in the center. Kicking off the fight was The Vigil, a rock band, playing some original material. It kind of reminded me of 90’s Alternative music, which if not stuffing my face would have sat watching them.
In addition to judges and a People’s Choice award, trucks were challenged with a secret ingredient award. While no one stood in front of a covered table and revealed a table full of sweet potatoes to everyone’s surprise, my guess is the food trucks were warned a couple days ago of the secret (given the size of the event, it makes sense). While I walked around, I noticed the judges were given only the secret ingredient item. For the people, some trucks let you try the special item in addition to another item, while some gave you a choice between one or the other.
Putting in my comments, I really liked the setup of 12 trucks circled, the bands, and the small menu selection. I also liked the flat fee wristband ($35) that let you try all the trucks, while the $7 per meal only broke even at 5. Some trucks gave a small sample, which some people voiced the price disparity walking around. On the small selection, the trucks that kept the simple formula were able to produce a lot of volume and get the people moving. It seemed like the ones giving options struggled a bit, which may have skewed People Choice votes away. But overall I left happy, although I wish I would have stayed longer to see more of The School of Rock (the band played when I left) and see the crowning of The Hot Box (a last minute entry!) as the Secret Ingredient and People’s Choice winner with a Sweet Potato Maki and Sweet Yam Latke, and The Tin Kitchen won Chef’s Choice (judges) with a Duck Confit Taco.
The one last thing I wanted to note is the cause for this event. Not that it is not important, but for me it is what I wanted to close and note. The event raised $9,000 for Relay For Life of Charlotte, an American Cancer Society fundraising event. These trucks turned away larger opportunities to dish out to hungry food truck fans. I enjoyed the event a lot and I think I’ll circle this one on my calendar for next year.