LAFAYETTE, LA – At the peak of Lafayette’s food truck craze, a full-course meal at a sit-down restaurant could have been consumed in the time spent in some of the lines at the monthly Food Truck Roundup. If this November’s roundup was an indicator, the once-thriving scene is running on fumes. A stark contrast to those long lines, this month saw more menu items on the A-frame, dry erase boards outside of each truck than patrons in line. Even on a beautiful cool day, barely 50 people showed up to peruse the nine vendors, a drop from past roundups, one featuring 16 trucks. Most trucks this time didn’t have a line. At the busiest, the line at Viva la Waffle — easily the most popular truck in Lafayette — was four people deep. At nearly every window, there was no wait.
“It does seem to be going through a small decline, although there are some new trucks out,” says Paul Ayo of E’s Kitchen, which puts together the roundups in Parc Lafayette. “The roundup is still popular because it is a great family friendly event. The crowds may have slimmed down a little but they are more consistent now.”
The food truck revolution kicked off in November of 2010 with Taco Mama, but found its footing in the following years, especially after Viva la Waffle hit the streets in 2011. At one point, food trucks were cooking with grease in Lafayette: new ones emerging constantly on social media, plotting out their menus and whereabouts, which both changed by the day. Random mini roundups joined the established monthly roundups, which even drew trucks from Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Trucks ventured into nearby zip codes, bringing lunch to places like New Iberia and Maurice. Often they could be found in centralized locations or well-populated office parks. It made sense: Why fight the traffic when you could get a freshly made-to-order meal that pushed epicurean boundaries in the parking lot?
Somewhere in the last four years of food truck madness, the number of trucks may have reached 20, depending on whom you ask. Today, those numbers are cut in half…
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