Monday, August 29, 2011

Food Truck Madness

The excitement was unmistakable.

From the minute the email went out announcing that the First DFW Food Festival would be happening in the Sigel's Greenville Avenue parking lot, the excitement was there. For that matter, it started when the first truck hit our lot earlier this summer. But the festival was different.

I was immediately flooded with RSVP's. Some were the familiar names we see at our wine tastings. But most were new. And they were for groups of 5, 6, and 8, as high as 15. The normally empty comment line was buzzing. "Awesome." "So excited." "Can't wait." And they kept coming. And coming. And coming. Even through Saturday afternoon. A reporter from the Dallas News came by when the count was 850. It was 925 when she left. By the time the event was over we totalled 1110 confirmed RSVP's. The normal ratio is that attendance is double the number of RSVP's, but nothing was normal about this event. Kind of like waiting for a hurricane.

Two things we didn't expect when plans started a month ago. 1. That the temperatures would still be solid triple digits (at least 110 out on the parking lot.) Two, that we would have near this many people. We tried to get the word out to the media that parking was going to be very difficult. (The Lover's Dart Station is a long half block from the store.) We told the trucks to bring extra food. They did and stored the containers in our walk-in cooler.

All in all, I think things went OK. The problems we had were simply due to success beyond our wildest expectation.
The most remarkable thing was the patience and attitude of those in attendance. After my first walk through the crowd I was reminded of the energy of the State Fair. Only there were only great food vendors and no rides!

The Nammi truck was last to take their place and the last to open. When I walked by there were fifty people waiting in line for a truck that wasn't even serving yet. It was then that I began to realize that everyone here was just participating in a Food TV reality show. The event was just like something they'd seen on TV. They knew the drama going on inside that truck as the harried crew struggled to get their food ready for the crowd outside. And of course when the patient customers finally got their food, well, Nammi makes a damn tasty bahn-mi!

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