ROYAL OAK, MI – A crowd estimated at more than 2,000 converged on the Royal Oak Farmers Market Wednesday night for the first Michigan Mobile FoodVendors Association food-truck rally, standing in line for up to an hour for tacos, sandwiches, burgers and other street food treats.
Eight trucks and carts participated in the four-hour indoor event, and all except the Frank’s Anatra hot dog cart ran out of food by the 9 p.m. close, said association president Carl Patron, owner of Ned’s Travelburger in Birmingham. Some trucks were out of their most popular items shortly after 7 p.m.
“It was a fantastic kick-off event, that’s for sure. It was way more than we expected,” he said. “It was beyond our wildest dreams.” He said market officials estimated the crowd at 1,000 by 6:30 p.m., “and they just kept coming. I would say we had 2,500 to 3,000 people.”
Patron said truck owners are looking for suitable gathering spots in other suburbs so they can rotate their rally locations among several cities for subsequent Street Eats Wednesdays events. “Each of us is trying to secure a Wednesday night a month,” Patron said.
Some would-be diners walked in, looked at the wall-to-wall crowd and long lines, and walked out. Others just enjoyed the scene and waited for the lines to inch ahead.
Steven Mann of Beverly Hills and several other family members waited for 45 minutes for food at Chow Catering, but he said would “absolutely” come back again. “They should do this on a regular basis,” he said.
The alcohol-free event drew an eclectic blend of customers of all ages, races and styles, from parents with babies in strollers to groups of teens, young adults and retirees.
Some, like Michael Olds of Royal Oak, were food-truck regulars. “I’m a big fan of Jacques Tacos. I follow them in Ferndale and Royal Oak,” he said. But he didn’t want to wait up to an hour for his food, so he got a hot dog from the faster line at Frank’s Anatra.
Leon Ochoa of Ferndale said he came because he’s interested in the street-food movement. “I’ve been following the beginnings of the food-truck phenomenon with El Guapo and Jacques Tacos,” two of the first trucks to get licensed in metro Detroit, he said.
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