By Gary T. Mills | Jacksonville.com
As Connecticut artist Cris Dam stood on a step ladder painting part of his collaborative urban mural project (Creator Project 556) outside the Marble Bank Building along Laura Street, Chris Dickerson was busy making tortillas inside his converted Airstream trailer food truck, Corner Taco.
It was just before noon, and a one-block stretch of of the street was filling with downtown office workers and festivalgoers for the inaugural One Spark “crowdsourcing” festival where hundreds of innovators and creators are vying for $250,000 in prize money.
Through Sunday, the cordoned-off stretch of Laura between Forsyth and Adams streets is home to One Spark Food Village, a mix of nine food trucks and food and beverage vendors lining both sides of the street, serving everything from fish tacos to pulled pork sandwiches to jerk chicken wraps to noodles and more.
As the 112-year-old Jacobs Jewelers clock – unveiled Wednesday after a two-year restoration – chimed 12 times, Dickerson and his team were taking their first order of swordfish tacos from more than a dozen guests already in line.
At the south end of the block, the line had stretched 30 deep outside the Up in Smoke BBQ food truck.
Elsewhere on the street, lines quickly grew and stayed at 20 or more for many of the food truck operators and vendors.
Those vendors and their menus include:
■ All Jacked Up: Drinks, including espresso-bases, smoothies, iced blended coffee shakes, Italian sodas and more ($4)
■ Brazilian Corner: Burgers, hot dogs, shish kabob and spit barbecue selections ($3 to $4.50) from Ronaldo Bonachela
■ Caribbean Sunrise: Jerk chicken wrap, jerk pork kabob, curry chicken, wings and beef, chicken or veggie patties ($4.50 to $7)
■ Cely’s Famous Food: Filipino favorites pancit, fried lumpia, fried rice and meat on a stick ($1 to $5)
■ Corner Taco: Swordfish tacos (2 for $10) and nachos ($8.50); selection varies daily
■ Island Noodles: Wok-fired soba noodles ($7, or $8 with teriyaki chicken)
■ Snowie Queen: Shaved ice ($3 to $6)
■ Up in Smoke: pulled pork, angus beef brisket sandwiches ($7, $8), plus the Poodle Noodle Chili Doodle, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with mac and cheese and chili, wrapped in a flour tortilla ($7)
■ Intuition Ale Works: People’s Pale Ale and special One Spark Brew ($6) from the Riverside craft brewer.
Dickerson – who launched Corner Taco just over a year ago – considered participating in One Spark in a different capacity.
“I wrestled with the idea of presenting versus vending,” he said Thursday inside his Airstream. “I still want to do my trailer park idea.”
That idea includes five Airstream food truck trailers, each offering a different cuisine, set up in a permanent “trailer park” location.
In the end, he decided go the vending route, an option that gives him a better shot at leaving the festival with some cash to help finance his goal.
And after his first lunch at the festival Dickerson tweeted “Record lunch @ One Spark.”
The One Spark Food Village will be open throughout the five-day festival, serving during lunch and dinner hours. Other food trucks – including Happy Grilled Cheese, Subs on a Roll and Intuition – will operate during evening and late-night hours on Bay Street, between Newnan and Market streets, in the Entertainment Zone.