By Sheldon Gardner | The St. Augustine Record
Matthew Berg of St. Augustine has owned two restaurants and a bar, but Monster Burger N’ More is his first food truck.
“This is my first restaurant on wheels,” said Berg, who participated in Saturday’s Food Truck Wars at Francis Field. Berg started the business in November and said it has been an adventure.
“Things fall off the shelves,” he said.
The truck operates regularly in Jacksonville.
More than 40 food trucks gathered in Francis Field to serve up lobster rolls, shaved ice, Thai food, burgers and other creations. People wandered through the rows of food trucks amid the heat as a band played on a stage nearby.
Food truck owners competed for titles of Casual Cuisine, Spirit Award, Delectable Dessert, Top food sales and Peoples Choice Award.
Event creator and president of the production company, Liz Otts, said part of the idea for the Food Truck Wars came from her military background. Her father was in the U.S. Air Force and she said she grew up around block parties.
“This is not much different than a block party,” she said.
She expected from 20,000 to 25,000 people to attend.
Alex Montanez, of Jacksonville, owns food truck Gourmet Aviator, which serves mostly Latin American food.
He was in the aviation business for more than 20 years before he was laid off and did contract work. Then he decided to start his own business.
When asked why he decided to start the business, he said, “Freedom.”
Montanez has since helped form the Jacksonville Food Truck Association.
Terrence Webb, co-owner of Taste Buds Express, stood outside his food truck and held menus as people passed by. On the list outside were gourmet tacos such as the hickory smoked pulled pork and buffalo chicken taco.
Webb got into the food truck business with a friend in October last year after “they saw the food truck phenomenon growing,” he said. The crew serves regularly at a business in Riverside in Jacksonville.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” he said.
He said he thinks the food truck phenomenon is growing because people are looking for a change.
“I think people are looking for something different than a brick and mortar restaurant.”
Spirit Award: Taste Buds Express
People’s Choice Award: Cowboy Jim’s Cookies and Candies
Delectable Desserts: Sweet City Gelato
Casual Cuisine: Bem Bom
Top sales: Claw Daddy’s