By Kelsey Stein | Alabama
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Ordinarily, food trucks roll through the city, parking at places convenient for foot traffic. This afternoon, thousands of people returned the favor, seeking out the food trucks assembled in the parking lot of the Martin Biscuit Building.
Birmingham’s food trucks and push carts gathered at the Second Avenue South lot from noon to 5 p.m. for the inaugural Street Food Rally.
Paget Pizitz, co-owner of the Melt grilled cheese truck, estimated that by the event’s 5 p.m. end, more than 5,000 people would have walked through the gates.
“With the weather, volunteers, food trucks that came out, the crowd, everything has exceeded expectations,” Pizitz said. “It’s been the best food truck event in Birmingham so far.”
From the front of each truck, lines topping 100 people stretched the length of the parking lot, as patrons waited to be served Southern favorites from Spoonfed Grilland Shindigs Catering, tacos from Cantina on Wheels, and much more.
Fresh Off the Bun, Slice, Off the Hook, Dreamcakes Bakery, Greg’s Hot Dogs, Repicci’s Real Italian Ice and Melt were also in attendance.
Jorge Castro, who co-owns the Cantina restaurant in Lakeview and the Cantina on Wheels food truck, said they had prepared for about 4,000 people, but he expected more by the day’s end.
“It’s been really, really busy,” he said. “We’ve had more people than expected, but the truck are ready for that.”
At today’s rally, patrons had seven allotted tokens to exchange for food and drinks.
Elizabeth and John Knight, in town from Columbus, Ga., had tried food from five trucks by 3:30 p.m. and still had four tokens remaining.
“We haven’t had anything that wasn’t absolutely delicious,” Elizabeth said. “I wish Columbus had something like this.”
Perry Riddle, who lives in Birmingham, had tried wings and pizza from Slice and tacos from the Cantina food truck. Today was his first experience with most of Birmingham’s food trucks, and he was surprised to see the array of offerings.
“This will definitely make me go out and find where these trucks are parked so I can eat there again,” he said. “As a teacher, they’re especially good in the summer to get a quick lunch.”
Proceeds from the event will be split between the coalition’s funds and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The coalition is planning subsequent food truck events this summer and fall, Castro said.