The food truck craze has completely transformed America's idea of fast food. Now, you can get fresh and often gourmet food quickly, and enjoy it in the comfort of the great outdoors. With Florida's warm weather year-round, it's no wonder food trucks have become so popular in the state (and, more specifically, in regions like Space Coast). But now, Florida has taken the food truck scene to the next level.
Residents first began noticing these “meals on wheels” in 2011. Since then, the popularity has only surged. In fact, Orlando has more food trucks per capita than any other American city, according to RoamingHunger.com.
Food trucks are still growing in popularity both in Florida and across the U.S. — Photo courtesy of David Stanley
Food Truck Bazaar
Leading the way in the craze and spurring on the popularity (at least in part)? Mark Baratelli’s The Daily City Food Truck Bazaar. This collection of 10 to 15 different food trucks travels the coast, hitting 12 different cities every month. Two regular stops include the Space Coast’s own Titusville and Melbourne, usually in Wickham Park.
You no longer have to agree on one single restaurant for a night out with friends or family - and you don’t have to walk into restaurant after restaurant, peering at the menus, hoping to find something that tempts your taste buds either. And if you don’t, no hard feelings or awkward walk-outs of shame.
These open-air dining options are laid back, offering everything from barbecue to gourmet to ethnic to kid-friendly to dessert.
Regular trucks include Curbside, with its unique Asian-fusion menu (and bacon jam, a must-try); The Crepe Company (with the Eclair Crepe: Bavarian vanilla cream and chocolate chips); Sweet City Gelato and Gourmet Desserts (Try the sorbetto, which is vegan and free of fat, dairy and gluten.).
If you’re in Florida for the Fourth of July, you’re in for a real treat. The Food Truck Bazaar organizes a bigger-than-usual collection of trucks - we’re talking 20 or more - to complement the fireworks show.
Occasionally, the bazaar also features free live music, like Rosie O’Grady’s Highlanders Bagpipe Band.
Info for First-Time Foodies
Food trucks are one of the hottest new developments in the food scene, and the momentum doesn’t look like it will run out of gas any time soon. RoamingHunger.com reported there was a nearly 200% increase in the number of food trucks across the nation between 2011 and 2013.
If you’ve never been to a food truck gathering before, prepare to be amazed by what you’ve been missing. The Food Truck Bazaar events are big enough that organizers have to set up Port-A-Potties to accommodate the crowds.
That means come early. Leave plenty of time to search for parking, walk to the park, set up and wait in line. Don’t run out the door feeling “hangry” and impatient. Although you may be able to quickly pop by an individual food truck on an average lunch day, these bigger events are meant to be savored. Yes, even though the food is prepared quickly.
A food truck gathering is more social and community-oriented than many restaurants, just by the very nature of hanging out in the park. There are no walls. No aisles. No need to whisper or worry about using the wrong fork.
Simply bring a chair (and a foldable table, if you’d like) or picnic blanket and a hungry belly. Think of it like tailgating, but with the main event being the food instead of a sporting event. A pop-up tent can also be fun.
Expect to wait in line, sometimes for upwards of 20 minutes for the most popular food trucks. Some trucks may run out of food. (You can only store so many tortillas in that tiny space.) So pack snacks, and feed picky or moody kids before you go.
The event happens, come rain or shine. Trucks take cash and credit cards.
Check the Food Truck Bazaar’s online calendar to find out where the line-up will be featured when you're in town.