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World's Largest Food Truck Rally

New record set with 121 food trucks in attendance

TAMPA, FL - A Tampa food truck rally has set a new Guinness World Record for holding the largest food truck parade.

More than 121 food trucks took part in the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally on Saturday at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Jennifer O’Brien, a Florida State Fair Authority spokeswoman, said 62 trucks set last year’s record in Miami.

The Tampa Bay Times reports about 170 trucks participated in the event, but only trucks that displayed photographs of food were included in the official number. The event continues Sunday.

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Generation Food truckTAMPA, FL - The record-setting food truck rally that served a reported 20,000 hungry customers in Tampa last summer will take another spin at the Florida State Fairgrounds this spring.

Organizers for the “World’s Largest Food Truck Rally Part II” have set the second mass gathering of mobile eateries for March 29 and 30, expanding the event to two days.

The goal is to break the world record for most food trucks gathered in one place, set at last year’s rally with 99. This time they hope to more than double that number with 200 trucks.

The hugely popular 2013 rally exceeded organizer Jeremy Gomez’s most optimistic expectations by nearly 10,000 customers. Some trucks ran out of menu items by midafternoon, and some had to make runs to nearby grocery stores to restock as many as three times during the event.

The event will be free admission, with a fee of $6 to park at the fairgrounds. Trucks will be charging individually for food.

Find the original article at tbo.com <here>

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TAMPA, FL - For weeks, organizer Jeremy Gomez told people he expected 10,000 people to attend the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

100 food truck parade

Image from: WTSP.com

“In my head, I was thinking probably only 6,000 would show up,” Gomez said.

Instead, an estimated 20,000 people overwhelmed 99 trucks that came from across Florida and as far away as Texas and South Carolina to serve food and attempt a new Guinness World Record on Saturday for the most trucks gathered at one event.

Despite long lines for food and parking and beer and everything else, organizers already are planning a 200-truck rally next year.

Fairgrounds officials said today the parking lot refilled three times during the nine-hour event. That usually only happens on busy weekends during state fair season.

The unexpected crush of fans caused a food shortage, with several vendors running out of menu items as early as 1:30 p.m. for an event scheduled to last until 8 p.m.

Without knowing how many customers they would have, Gomez told truck operators during the weeks leading up to the rally to limit their menus or bring less food than normal so as not to waste food and lose money.

That forced vendors Danny and Kim Flores of Holy Crepe! and several other truck operators to run to nearby groceries to restock their refrigerators. Some did so as many as three times.

Gomez said he ran through two 100-pound propane tanks and an 80-pound supply of the kangaroo meat he grilled and served on a stick. One vendor who served tropical drinks in pineapples with the tops lopped off reported customers were scalping them to others who wanted to avoid the long line.

Others persevered through more challenging problems. The Mayan Grill Food Truck broke down on Interstate 4 on the way to the rally. The vehicle was towed to the fairgrounds, where it served Central American pupusas to hundreds of customers. The owners made enough money to be towed home to Orlando.

Margaret Aiken Loflin, operator of Maggie on the Move, posted on Facebook that trucks weren’t expecting those numbers.

“We won’t be caught off guard again!” Loflin wrote.

Find the entire article by Jeff Houck at tbo.com  <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this labor day weekend from Lansing, Huntsville, Tampa, Birmingham and Mundelein.

August 30

Off the Wire Food Truck News8 Michigan food trucks win nearly $78,000 in state grants to launch or expand their business – LANSING, MI - Eight food trucks throughout the state won a total of $77,775 in grants to either launch their business or expand it.

The trucks are from East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Flint, Pontiac, Southfield, Traverse City and Marquette. They were chosen among 65 applications requesting $601,372.

Find the entire article <here>

Food trucks could serve downtown Huntsville 7 days a week if proposal passes – HUNTSVILLE, AL - Food trucks would become a more regular part of the downtown Huntsville dining scene under a proposed change to the city zoning ordinance.

A rule adopted earlier this year let mobile eateries set up along Clinton Avenue and Cleveland Avenue as part of the new downtown arts and entertainment districts. However, they are limited to serving food from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

Find the entire article <here>

August 31

Tampa smashes world record for food trucks – TAMPA, FL - Rain was in the air Saturday morning, but it didn’t stop a world record-breaking effort at the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally.

More than 80 trucks paraded from downtown Tampa to the Florida State Fairgrounds after Mayor Bob Buckhorn rang the ceremonial dinner bell. At the fairgrounds, 99 trucks was the final record-breaking count. The previous world record was 62, set at Magic City Casino in Miami in April.

Find the entire article <here>

September 1

More UAB Dining Options to Come – BIRMINGHAM, AL - UAB Campus Restaurants is expanding more rapidly than ever with new additions of restaurants and food trucks across campus.

 UAB has contracted local food trucks to be available for students, faculty and alumni at the Mini Park Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The food trucks include Cantina on Wheels, Melt, Off the Hook, and Spoonfed Grill. Dining dollars will be accepted at all mobile sites.

Find the entire article <here>

September 2

Taste of Paris in Mundelein adds mobile food truck -  MUNDELEIN, IL - Claude Bouteille is no stuffy French chef bound to a secretive kitchen.

The Mundelein transplant opened Taste of Paris four years ago in, of all places, an intimate space he shared with an Italian pizzeria and bistro sitting in a strip mall.

Find the entire article <here>

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ST-PETERSBERG-FOOD-TRUCKS

(OCTAVIO JONES | Times, Tampa)

TAMPA, FL - A little air has gone out of the tires of the social-media-fueled, counter-culture revolution on wheels.

Stringent government regulations, increasing consumer sophistication and the reality of long, hard hours have cooled the food truck frenzy, both for starry-eyed would-be vendors and the hungry hoards they serve.

Since June 2, Craigslist.com has listed 21 used food trucks for sale in the Tampa Bay area. If you broaden that search to Central Florida, several dozen more trucks crowd the list board, from Blue Bird school buses to workhorse Grumman Olson vans. The requirements of compostable cutlery and detailed business plans have also dampened some of the fervor of rogue upstarts in cities like Vancouver, British Columbia, and Los Angeles.

Sure, there are plenty of Tampa Bay trucks doing a robust business, like Wicked Wiches, which now has three trucks, and cult favorite Burger Culture. The granddaddy of them all, Taco Bus, which boasts four brick-and-mortar spots and a mobile unit, is known nationally among food truck aficionados.

But others haven’t fared as well.

Jeremy Gomez ticks off names of Tampa’s original food trucks that have already closed or changed hands: Fire Monkey lasted only nine months; the Hogfather BBQ truck is for sale; Keeping it Reel recently sold, as did American Wiener. Gomez is one of the organizers of an August rally at the Florida Fairgrounds that’s attempting to break a world record by gathering 100 trucks.

Rallies draw big crowds, but things are tougher here for individual trucks on the streets. The Tampa Bay area is a car culture spread out across a broad metro area, and food trucks rely on foot traffic. Even the most intrepid local pedestrian may falter in summer’s heat, humidity and afternoon storms. Plus, said Gomez, Tampa diners have a long tradition of patronizing chains and familiar fast-food giants.

Find the entire article by Laura Reiley at Tampabay.com <here>

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Michelle-Faedos-on-the-Go tampaTAMPA, FL - Michelle Faedo has never been to Las Vegas. She’s never left Tampa, for that matter.

In November, she will compete for $300,000 at Caesars Palace during the World Food Championships.

The championships contacted Faedo on Friday to invite her and her husband, Robert, to compete. The Faedos in March won the 2013 Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City, their second consecutive victory. The win qualified them to cook for the big money this year in Las Vegas.

Last year, the championships invited Skipper’s Smokehouse owner Tom White and his girlfriend, Cricket Larson, to compete with the restaurant’s Grouper Reuben sandwich. They were bested by Las Vegas chef Robert Butler’s Duck Fat Crisped Pork Butt Sandwich and his Sweet & Cheesy BBQ Pork Sandwich.

Faedo intends to make her trademark Cubano, but she also must decide on a second sandwich to serve for judges during the first round. If she wins her sandwich category, she goes to the final judges table to compete against food in seven other categories, including barbecue, chili, burgers and dessert.

Find the entire article by Jeff Houck at TBO.com <here>

 

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Renny's Oki Doki food truck

Image from Facebook

For the last month, we have been asking for submissions and votes for our 2013 Best Food Truck Graphic Design. Once we determined the top 10 trucks almost 2,0500 votes were submitted from around the world;  and you; our readers have made your choice. The winner with over 650 individual votes comes from Tampa, FL. Renny’s Oki Doki food truck will have a feature article published in the near future, and their graphic designer Ruben A. Aquino has won a free month of advertising on Mobile Cuisine.

Rennys Oki Doki

Twitter: @RennysOkiDoki

Okinawan Food truck in Tampa, Florida. Soki Soba, Yaki Soba, gyoza, spring rolls, pork belly

Just follow the noodles! · facebook.com/rennysokidoki

 

We would like to thank all of our entrants and voters for making this fantastic contest.

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food truck Guinness RecordTAMPA, FL - Jeremy and Candy Gomez’s cellphone keeps ringing. Almost every time they answer, the caller is someone who wants in on their attempt to break a Guinness world record for the number of food trucks operating in one place.

Generation Food Truck, the Gomezes’ event-planning company, aims to lure as many trucks as possible to the Florida State Fairgrounds on Aug. 31.

An April rally in Miami at Magic City Casino set the bar with 64 trucks. The goal for Tampa is to assemble more than 100.

“We decided we can do Tampa proud,” Jeremy Gomez said. “We’ve already done rallies in Tampa with 35 to 40 trucks.”

Gomez said food trucks at the Funshine Music Festival in May at the fairgrounds were well received. The fairgrounds is an ideal venue for food vendors because of the paved surfaces, access to restrooms and nighttime lighting.

Local bands are being booked to entertain at the August rally, which will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission will be $6 for parking, with each truck charging individually for food.

Gomez said he put the word out weeks ago to 168 operators in Florida, including about 45 from the Tampa area. Interest since has crossed state lines. Atlanta’s Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen wants to serve its “farm to street” food. Charleston’s Cast Iron truck plans to sell its Carolina chopped barbecue. Each operator will pay a $25 to attend.

The Gomezes’ own Not Your Ordinary Food Truck also will join the throng, serving an assortment of wild game and exotic meat dishes.

Gomez concedes few if any operators will make money that day, no matter how large the crowd. That includes his own truck.

“But the food trucks are really cool and they all know this,” he says. “They just want to be part of the Guinness record.”

The phone rings again. He takes the call.

“That was a Jamaican truck from Miami,” he said. “They didn’t get my email. They just heard by word of mouth that we were doing it and wanted to come. I love finding new trucks.”

FInd the original article by Jeff Houck at tbo.com <here>

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TAMPA, FL – The owners of a popular Asian food truck are leaving the road to start a fixed-base restaurant downtown at the street level of the SkyPoint condominium tower.

stinky bunz tampaXuan Pham “Sing” Hurt and her husband, Kevin, operated the Stinky Bunz food truck for a year at rallies and private functions in the Tampa area before closing the business in December. They signed a lease on Monday to open Anise Global Gastro Bar at SkyPoint before the end of February.

The 2,500-square-foot space faces Ashley Drive at the southwest corner of the tower. The spot was the location of the restaurants RawBar and The Point after the building opened in 2007.

Hurt said Tuesday that Anise will offer business lunches and casual dinners every day featuring a global-flavored menu and craft cocktails and beers. There also will be outdoor seating, late-night offerings and brunch on weekends in the Parisian-style setting.

“We should be a place people can go to any time of day and have a great meal,” she said. “We want to be part of that growing residential scene.”

Toward that end, Anise also plans to offer to-go picnic baskets so customers can dine across the street at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Find the entire article by Jeff Houck at The Tampa Tribune <here>

 

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TAMPA, FL  - Two food truck owners from Georgia made the trip South to join Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Food Truck Fiesta yesterday at Lykes Gaslight Park.

Tampa Food Truck FiestaOne of the new trucks is Champion Cheesesteaks from Kennesaw, Georgia, and was founded in 2010 by Roy Brostrand. The truck serves classic American food, including steak and chicken cheesesteaks and a veggie Philly.

The Happy Belly Truck, started five years ago by Terry and Dawn Hall from Smyrna, Georgia, also joined the fiesta. They serve fresh natural and wholesome foods, and use organic and local ingredients when possible. Their menu includes a short rib-brisket hamburger, grilled sweet potato and organic black bean burger, and for the young ones a gouda and granny smith apple grilled cheese.

The park is located on Franklin Street between Madison Street and Kennedy Boulevard.

Local food trucks that participated in the event were: Fat Tortillas Southwest Grill, The Hogfather BBQ, Nate Paul’s Q4U, Maggie on the Move, Michelle Faedo’s On The Go, Unforgettable Cupcakes Co., Americanwiener and The Dude and His Food.

The food truck rally was originally launched in November 2011 and is held on the first Wednesday of each month.

 

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