Food Truck Friday is in full effect in Mt. Pleasant, as a wider variety of foods are offered for the weekly event this year.
Hundreds of hungry customers gathered during the lunch rush in the Central Michigan University Research Corporation’s parking lot, located at 2625 Denison Drive in Mt. Pleasant, to allow local food vendors to grow through commerce, according to CMURC Operations Assistant Olivia Gibson.
“It’s a fun event that brings some of the best food trucks in the area to one central location,” she said.
The event started on June 7 and will come to an end on Aug. 23.
Each week will feature a lineup of eight trucks, each offering a different type of cuisine, according to Gibson. Two extra spots are reserved for local vendors.
Like previous years, the food trucks are all facing off to be voted the 2019 CMURC Favorite Food Truck, although this year it will be done under a new format, according to Gibson. In the previous years, two food trucks would face off against each other in a one-on-one “contest” with attendees picking their favorite of the two. This year introduced having eight trucks at the venue, with people cast their vote for their favorite of the eight.
“It’s a great deal of friendly competition,” Gibson said. “Not only does that help the vendors, it helps the community by giving them a variety of choices and boosting business.”
The winner will be announced at the final day of the weekly event.
One of the trucks, Bubba Q, saw several customers order their walking tacos and their turbo nachos, according to owner Brian “Bubba” Baldwin. The barbecue truck offered
“We made a lot of food for a lot of people,” he said. “An event like this because it brings a lot of people together to enjoy some good food.”
Bubba Q is better known as the truck that was stolen by Zachary Jenkins in Mt. Pleasant on May 3, who simply stated “I'm a dumbass” when asked by police why he had stolen the truck.
Several people at the event sat out in the hot sun. Sweet Treats Ice Cream was one of the few trucks to offer a remedy to the heat with their variety of frozen treats, including ice cream bars and popsicles. This is the second year that the ice cream business has had a presence at Food Truck Friday, according to owners Daniels Fisher and Kellie Fisher.
“It’s a great way for us to see regular customers and attracting new business,” said Daniels Fisher. “We also provide a nice option for the kids and the kids at heart.”
Phat Matt’s Food Truck made their third appearance at the event this year. They offer four varieties of artisan tacos: the “Traverse City Chicken Salad” taco, the “Brisket Billy” taco, the “Asian Chicken” taco and the “Greek Pork” taco. Their big-ticket seller was their pesto French fries, according to truck operators Courtney Woody and Theresa Mercer.
“Some people have even taken to calling them ‘crack fries,’ because the love them so much,” Mercer said. “It’s one of our big sellers during the summer.”
The variety of offerings allowed customers to deal with any craving. This was the case for attendee Robin Decker, who got a burger from the Cruisin’ Chef food truck.
“I was really craving a burger, so that’s what I ended up getting,” she said. “I’m a bit of a Food Truck Friday pro, so I know the food here is good.”
She was joined by Deborah Clark and Ray Clark, who also got burgers from the Cruisin’ Chef. Deborah Clark has been to Food Truck Friday several times while it was the first time for Ray Clark.
“I actually got food from the Cruisin’ Chef because I had it last week and I loved it,” she said. “I know it’s not super adventurous, but the food is really good.”
She also said that she enjoys the event because it brings together a wide variety of people and attendees are bound to run into a friend or an acquaintance.
In addition to the previously mentioned, this year’s lineup of trucks include:
• Grub Hubb LLC
• 3 Lil Pig’s BBQ and Catering
• Ignite Donuts
• Wells Wanderlust
• The Patty Wagon
• LumberJill Concessions
• Central Fusion
• DW’s Street Eatery
• Nate’s Cart
• John Reynolds Catering “Who Doesn’t Like Pizza?”
• Fire and Rice
• AT Concessions
• Greentree Grocery and Deli.
Last year, 26 vendors generated $64,250 during the 14-week period. The weekly event brought 11 new vendors to the area and more than 5,500 customers. Last year, the event saw an average of around 600 people attend each day, Gibson said. She expects to see the same amount of people, if not a bit more.