Hawaii “Eat the Street” Draws Thousands (video)

By HawaiiWeBlog.com

Friday brought Honolulu’s second “Eat the Street” Food Truck Rally, held in Kaka’ako. The first, organized by StreetGrindz.com, drew a dozen vendors and over 1,000 people to a small lot on Kapiolani Boulevard. For this second event, Kamehameha Schools hosted everyone on a four-acre parking lot on South Street, and brought significant logistical expertise to the party. Nonstop Honolulu came aboard to help with promotion, and KITV featured a participating food truck every day on its morning show.

The result? “Eat the Street” grew to more than twice its size in only its second month, with over two dozen trucks and food vendors and drawing an estimated 3,000 people.

I missed the first food truck rally, but given the great team that had come together behind this second effort, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Indeed, “Eat the Street” can already solidly bill itself as one of the country’s largest food truck rallies, as the turnout Friday night exceeded some of the bigger events on the Mainland.

The new location brought much more space, much more parking, and an altogether more open feel. There were certainly lines — particularly for Melt and the Gogi Korean Taco Truck — but if you brought friends to “divide and conquer,” you could still easily sample something from several popular trucks. And many sellers kept things moving quickly, slimming down their menus and preparing more in advance.

I brought my whole family. My wife set her sights on a full taco plate from Tacos Vicente (which normally operates on the North Shore). In the time she spent in that line, I’d taken my kids to four other vendors, nabbing dinner and dessert and joining up with mom in time to feast together.

As before, there was a live DJ spinning beats, but a highlight of the evening was an unannounced performance by dancers from Nanakuli High School. (It wasn’t quite a “flash mob,” but tell that to the hapless family who ended up right in the middle of the performance area.) Given that much of the time at these events will always be spent idle, I hope live entertainment becomes a regular part of future events.

The larger lot could’ve probably used more than one lighting rig, and the seating and eco-friendly food waste recycling center could’ve been more centralized… but frankly, the organizers did a spectacular job for what was only their sophomore effort. Future ”Eat the Street” events can only get better.

And given the success of this one, I have no doubt there will be many more.