Food Truck Friday Follow Up
Last night marked a turning point in Reno’s food culture. It was a night where competitors got together and created a synergy of brands that earned an amazing turnout for a kick off event. It proved that there is power in smart collaborations and that Reno will come out to support something different, fun and family oriented in the foodservice space.
Before we get too far into this, THANK YOU to all of the folks that braved the chill, full parking lots, long lines and traffic to support these businesses. THANK YOU to all of the vendors that stepped up and made a difference in our little blossoming foodie scene here in Reno. THANK YOU to the city for opening up a previously dead space for a great community event. And finally a HUGE THANK YOU to Haley Wood and Jessie Watnes of Gourmelt for spearheading this event and making it happen.
I wrote about this a while back and loved the idea from the beginning. I am so happy that it turned out to be bigger and better than I had hoped. I cruised in right about 6 as the event started and there was a decent crowd forming already. My first stop was to the Sauce Wagon to grab a brisket sammie. My first time trying their brisket and it was just as good as expected- good smoke, fall apart tender, not too salty and some tasty sauce. Then a long wait in line for Dish Truck for a Reuben. I was happy to see that the sandwich was just as good as what they serve in their restaurant, nothing was lost when served from the truck. Crispy marbled rye, tender meat, yummy kraut and their own sweet Russian dressing with a handful of fresh fried chips on the side. I ran out of time for another stop but I have tried all of the trucks by now and none of them will disappoint.
I stopped and chatted with folks throughout the night to get a feel for what they thought of the event. Some of the general statements-
- People love the concept
- Parking was a bit of a pain with an Aces game the same night
- I heard mixed reviews about the beer garden not allowing beverages outside of their ropes
- The lines were too long and the wait was a bit too much
- The music, while decent and entertaining, didn’t fit the vibe of the crowd.
Overall everyone was excited to see this happening in Reno. It’s a fun and cool concept that is more than welcomed by the community from what I can see. I saw plenty of people in multiple lines, grabbing a bite here and a bite there. I loved seeing this happen as that’s one of the coolest things about the concept- a group can all eat what they like and everyone is happy.
I didn’t have any issues parking, pulled right into the CommRow garage and was at the event in minutes for $5. I did hear a bit later that people were having a some issues finding parking. An Aces game starting roughly the same time added a little stress to the parking situation. In my opinion we don’t have much of a parking issue in downtown. Visit Seattle, San Francisco or the like on a weekend when multiple events are going on and you’ll see what I mean
I didn’t ever make it to the beer garden but saw quite a decent crowd over there. Great Basin Brewing was pouring their beer and you know they always please. I did hear some discontent in the fact that beer could not leave the roped off area. I spoke to one good friend who was waiting in line for food as her friends grabbed beer for the group. Of course the setup didn’t allow that and I would guess they weren’t the only ones to tackle the lines in this fashion. I have mixed emotions on this….. I like that the alcohol element is controlled to keep people from imbibing too much and preventing issues with minors drinking. But, it would be nice to enjoy your beer along with some food. I didn’t think to double check, but from the size of the area I don’t believe that there were seats or tables there to take food into the area. Hopefully a good compromise will be found here in future events.
Due to the huge turnout the lines got quite long at the peak of the event around 7-7:30. The trucks were cranking out food as quick as they could from their tiny kitchens and I would guess that they may have been a bit under-prepared for the crowd that turned up. I didn’t notice any people too upset and leaving, but there was plenty of talk about it in the lines. I also ran into a few people that showed up and left without eating because of the wait. If I were running this event, I would keep plans the same for the next one on May 4th but set things up to increase the frequency for the rest of the summer if the turnout was comparable. I can only imagine that better weather, more tourists and the 30,000 or so visitors we will have to the bowling stadium in the next few months will only provide larger crowds. Offering the event every other week or maybe every week will hopefully soften the crowd a bit. I also think it would be helpful for the trucks to try to speed up ordering by having someone walk the line and grab orders. Of course you have to not overload the small kitchen and make people wait on that end.
The tunes provided by locals Daylight Roots were interesting and fun. I personally enjoyed most of what I heard from them. But, I think it was a bit too modern and outside of mainstream to please the majority of the crowd. They played well, but I heard and saw many people not really getting into it. The volume got a bit loud at times too. To the point that I found myself yelling while I was halfway across the courtyard. Luckily it got turned down a bit and was much more manageable.
Overall I would say it was a huge success!!! Easily one of the best kick offs for a foodie event I’ve seen in this town. Any of the negatives I covered here are easily taken care of and are definitely overshadowed by the huge positives that came with the event.
Congrats Reno- we are moving up in the foodie world yet again!!! As usual, I forgot to snap pictures….. But, check out the post on Downtown Makeover for great pictures as usual.
Your thoughts? Did you go to the event? Why, or why not? Will you go on May 4th?