Last Night: Food Truck Round-Up in Fort Lauderdale Swarmed by Diners

Thumbnail image for Picture 22.jpg
Photo by Mike Rice
Click here for a slideshow of photos from the event.
The latest food truck round-up took place last night in Fort Lauderdale's Esplanade Park, and if there was one common complaint it was that the turnout was actually too good. Hundreds of people queued up to try gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, inhale short rib-smothered tater tots, and tweak off of half a dozen cupcake pops.

By 6 p.m. the lines of eager diners snaked from Himmarshee Street all the way to the New River. Many people gave up waiting or never got up to the trucks before many of them ran out of food. The upside for Himmarshee restaurants: spillover  crowds that packed almost every restaurant.

According to Fish Box food truck owner David Garcia, the only complaint that he hears about the round-ups is about the lines. Garcia says that his truck usually attends about two to three truck rallies each week. Like other truck owners, he was surprised at the huge turn out at Esplanade Park.  "Yesterday's rally was phenomenal. It was a little bit crazy with so many people," Garcia chuckled." We had lines of 40 to 50 people, but we always try to get the food out as quickly as we possibly can."

South Florida rocker and a truck round-up newbie, Steve Kleisath, waited in line for over an hour at a popular burger truck. Kleisath was midway through the line when the truck owner told the crowd that they were sold out of many of their popular items and suggested that those who were not already at the front of the line try their luck at another truck. Kleisath decided to try one of the restaurants on Himmarshee instead.

At first glance, it may seem like local restaurant owners would be opposed to the rally, but surprisingly, Himmarshee restaurants were the big winners of the night. Bourbon on 2nd restaurant manager Jack Winter said," The rally helped business tremendously. We benefitted greatly, especially because I heard that a lot of the truck venors ran out of food fairly early."

Food truck round-ups have a knack for creating instant, mobile communities. Yesterday, the area was teeming with people whom you wouldn't normally find at the same event together- the well-heeled, (anti-hipster) hipsters, college kids enjoying the last few weeks of summer break, and families.

Food industry experts cite the slow economy as one of the reasons why the food truck trend has taken off across the country. On average you can go to a rally and spend between $10- $15 for a meal and a (non-alcoholic) drink, not including dessert.
 
With a new food truck round-up popping up randomly every week, the question now is whether South Florida residents will continue to attend when having to contend with long lines, sweltering heat, and limited parking.


Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

Location Info

Map

Esplanade Park

400 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: General


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15 comments
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Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

Overall, this was a really good event for the community, the truck owners, and for local businesses. Despite the (painfully) long lines I would say that people were generally in good spirits even those who had to go elsewhere to eat. Koby is right, people do want to be a part of something though I don't think it's out of desperation. Many people who I talked to had never been to a round-up before and with all of the hoopla on T.V. and in the local news, who wouldn't want to check it out? Parking is definitely an issue downtown and it quickly bumps the price of things up unlike at other regular round-up locations where the parking is free. As Ted said, GO EARLY and you'll increase your odds of leaving happy and well fed.

TED INSERRA
TED INSERRA

I WAS THERE early, it was a later arriving mob, between 5-6:30 it was easy eating!!!  we need to bring back A TASTE OF FORT LAUDERDALE, !!!

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

and brick and mortar restaurants are closing at very scary rates. Were the inspectors on the scene? I remember when food vendors showed up to serve the attendees at an event. Now they are the event. This country is food obsessed.

Koby
Koby

scores of people, paying to park to wait on line for an hour to save $2 on a burger. It sort of defines insanity. 

Natalie O
Natalie O

Yup, it was a nightmare!  I couldn't believe how insane the lines were... We waited about 30 minutes in one when they ran out of food.  Bummer!

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

I was really looking forward to this food truck roundup, but man, there were just too many people. Next time we need more trucks.

ErinHilburn
ErinHilburn

Saving $2 on a burger? Please clarify. Are you comparing to a place like Rok? In any event, I don't see it as a matter of cost. I see it as a way to try unique food items. 

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Laine Doss
Laine Doss

Hi Eric - yup, the food truck scene is still a novelty in Broward and Palm Beach, so the lines are crazy.  I forsee lines toning down a bit as more trucks head to Broward Palm Beach on a regular basis.

ErinHilburn
ErinHilburn

It was crazy, I waited an hour for a Machito from Latin Burger. I usually attend one rally every week, but this was just slammed. The rallies are still a novelty in Broward and Palm Beach, so you'll see these long lines for awhile, I think. Try the Lady Luck Round Up at Hard Rock on Thursday nights. A lot less busy than last night's was, and with many of the same trucks. 

Koby
Koby

Every restaurant has "unique food items". This is just herd mentality. Unsophisticated people who are desperate to be a part of something. You wouldn't wait on line for an hour on a Wednesday night for a restaurant serving the exact same food. It reminds me of people who pay $20 to go to an event and they wait on line for 45 minutes for a free lamb chop. Stupidity on steroids.

John L.
John L.

I'm not sure it's a "herd mentality"... food trucks are still a fringe experience. But there's definitely something about the scene that resonates with a large number of people in ways that a traditional restaurant does not. 

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