By Matt Wake | Al.com
Because of wintry conditions, Liliya Alexandrovna was only able to operate her Neon Lilly food truck nine days during the entire month of February. A solid weekday lunch business out on Redstone Arsenal helped keep things going for the Eastern European fare-serving venture during winter months. As did brewery and catering gigs.
Virtually any living person with a soul looks forward to spring, but that feeling may be even more pronounced among Huntsville-area food truck operators.
The first official day of spring for 2015 is March 20. Fittingly that’s also the date the inaugural Spring Fling Food Truck Gathering, being held 4:30-7:30 p.m. in the parking lot outside Books-A-Million, address 1001-7 N. Memorial Pkwy, at the corner of University Drive and the Parkway.
Last year, development non-profit organization Downtown Huntsville Inc.’s debut Street Food Gathering series was an undisputed smash hit. The free events, held April through October, attracted hockey-arena-sized crowds to downtown streets.
“I’ve been thinking about an independent food truck event since last year,” Alexandrovna says. She’s part Ukrainian, part Russian and speaks in a cheerful, thick Eastern European accent. “Downtown, people claim, ‘It’s too long a wait. And it’s only once a month.’ And we started looking for a location where we (food truck operators) can unite so people can come to us.”
Spring Fling, which is free to attend, will feature seven local food trucks: Sugar Belle,Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizzas, Doctor BBQ, HotBox, Food Fighters Bustaurant, I Love Bacon and Neon Lilly. You can read menu items and descriptions as well as price ranges for each truck, below.
Alexandrovna operates Neon Lilly out of an orange, 16-by-18-and-a-half foot trailer she pulls with a Toyota Tundra, opening for business last year. She put Spring Fling together with the help of hirsute Food Fighters owner Jason Lafferty. They and other Huntsville food truck operators share ideas online via a special Facebook group. “It took a while to get all the permits, property owner’s permission, Books-A-Million management, planning and zoning, business department, etc.,” Alexandrovna says of Spring Fling preparations. “But all these folks were very cooperative.”
Organizers set an early evening Friday date for Spring Fling for end-of-the-work-week appeal. While some DTI food truck events have featured more than 20 trucks, Alexandrovna purposely kept that number considerably lower. If Spring Fling goes well, she says there may be additional independent food truck gatherings held on a regular basis.
“We don’t want to do more than six or seven trucks,” Alexandrovna says. “It might even be less (in the future) because we want to give people an opportunity to make money. Downtown area is getting very busy. People need to have an alternative to experience food trucks.”
Spring Fling Food Truck Gathering breakdown
Menu includes: Maple Bacon (brown sugar maple cake with a maple buttercream, topped with candied bacon); Red, Red Wine (chocolate cake with red wine frosting); and Orange Creamsicle (cream-filled vanilla cake with orange Tang frosting)
Price range: $3 each, $15 for a half-dozen
Earth and Stone Wood Fired Pizzas
Menu includes: The Hammer (white sauce, mozzarella, provolone, bacon, red onion, arugula and topped with spicy pepper oil); The Porkalicious (red sauce, mozzarella, provolone, pepperoni, bacon, sausage); and The Margherita (red sauce, mozzarella, provolone, fresh basil)
Price range: $9-$12
Menu includes: Hickory and Maple-wood Smoked Hand-Pulled Pork; Smoked Mac and Cheese; and Homemade Loaded Baked Potato Salad.
Price range: $8 plates include choice of meat, two sides and roll.
Menu includes: Cheesesteak (lean sliced beef, red bell pepper, red onion, American cheese, sriracha mayo, Texas toast); Tuscan Chicken (herb grilled chicken breast, spinach, tomato, mushroom, Colby Jack, Texas toast); and Irish Lamb (seared leg of lamb, caramelized onions, garlic-herb mayo, Texas toast)
Price range: $8 adult sandwiches ($3 kid’s grilled cheese)
Food Fighters Bustaurant
Menu includes: Clint Eastwood Tacos (smoked brisket, queso, pico, “bus sauce” [a sriracha aioli] and barbecue); Why So Chicken? Fries (loaded fries with smoked chicken, queso, bus sauce, jalapenos, sriracha sauce); and Chicago Style Dog.
Price range: $5 – $8.
I Love Bacon
Menu includes: Miami Sound Machine (pressed sandwich with braised pork belly, Black Forest ham, fresh dill pickles, mustard, Swiss on fresh, crusty Cuban bread); Carlos Santana (marinated flank steak, black forest ham, bacon, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, smoked mayo on toasted fresh Brioche bun); and Tito Jackson (braised pork belly tacos with citrus slaw, pickled red onions, sriracha sour cream)
Price range: $7-13.
Menu includes: Pulled Pork “Taiga” (Hickory smoked Boston Butt pork roast marinated in Eastern European seasonings, on a hoagie bun topped with pomegranate garlic aioli, fresh slaw, red onion, sliced dill pickle); Golabki (lightly soft boiled cabbage leaves wrapped around seasoned ground turkey and beef, chopped onions, rice, with rich tomato sauce, sour cream); and Ramen Kazakhstan (beef ramen, slow cooked with beef oxtails, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions)
Price range: $6 – $15