By Danielle Miller and Craig Huber | Fox 5 Vegas
Las Vegas is at the center of the foodie universe this weekend. The Las Vegas Foodie Festival is back, bigger than ever.
The three-day festival kicked off Friday at the Silverton Casino and runs through the weekend. The event has ballooned to 40 food trucks with a waiting list of more than 70.
“We’re growing every year. We’re adding more trucks, more food vendors. More than anything, we’re adding exotic parts, like craft beer tents, new things that are out there in the food world,” event producer Ranier Galgana said.
Galgana said the event is fueled by the evolution of the food truck business.
“The first one, we only planned on [holding the festival] annually. We had about 2,500 people come out to that first one back in April, and they demanded we come back,” he said.
Galgana said it’s the variety that keeps people coming back.
“What is great is, you’ll be able to have lobster, and you’ll also have Filipino food or Asian-inspired food. It’s a little bit of everything,” he said.
One of the trucks you’ll find this weekend is the Lobster Trap. Co-owner Michael Notaro said business has been good, and people will travel for miles for his seafood.
“We have people coming from Pahrump, 45 miles away, people coming from all over town just to get our lobster rolls,” he said.
Notaro said there are advantages to owning a truck as opposed to a traditional restaurant.
“The best thing about it is, if a spot’s not doing well, you can always pick up, move, and go to another spot and feed someone else,” he said.
He can also put his passion on a plate inexpensively.
“The overhead to have a truck is definitely less as opposed to a brick and mortar [restaurant],” he said.
Notaro said that despite his success, he would eventually like to own a restaurant. Still, he’s pleased with the growing food truck culture.
“The Food Network definitely plays a role in it, 100 percent. Otherwise, if it wasn’t on national television, Joe Schmo in the middle of nowhere would not have any idea what a food truck, gourmet food truck is,” he said.
The festival is open from noon until midnight Saturday and from noon until 10 p.m. Sunday, and admission is $10.