By Ginny Beagan | TC Palm
Downtown Stuart will be invaded June 3.
Twenty-five food trucks are expected to take part in the first Stuart food truck invasion at Memorial Park.
Although food trucks have been around since The Civil War and chuck wagons, the trucks headed to Stuart are not the hot dog or ice cream trucks of yesteryear. These trucks dish out gourmet fusion fare, dressed up standards and foods of many cultures — everything from empanadas and lobster rolls to cupcakes and gelato.
Food trucks are in cities all over the country, and have been invading Tradition in Port St. Lucie for a few months. Jane Rowley, event coordinator for Tradition, said the monthly invasion has drawn more than 3,500 people. Starting in July, the invasions will be increased to twice a month.
In Stuart, the trucks will be coming to Memorial Park, 300 S.E. Ocean Blvd., every Monday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. The trucks will vary from week to week, and you can check on your favorites on the Food Truck Invasion Facebook page.
Many attribute the start of this culinary movement to the stalled economy. Food trucks provided out-of-work people with a way to create their own income. They also offer a restaurant-quality meal without the restaurant price.
The trend gained momentum in 2010 when The Food Network aired a reality competition called “The Great American Food Truck Race,” in which competitors tried to out-cook and outsell each other in cities around the nation.
Whatever the reason, food trucks are the in-thing to do in the culinary world. Many franchises such as Taco Bell, Dairy Queen and Subway have come on board. Even celebrity chef Rachael Ray has a promotional food truck.
These small mobile restaurants specialize in three or four dishes — it is not fast food. If you go, be prepared: there may be a wait. Many of the dishes are prepared to order.
The culinary fare offered by these mobile restaurants draw people from all lifestyles. So bring your lawn chair or blanket and take advantage of the wait time to chat with someone you might not ordinarily meet.
Think of it as a community picnic.