2nd Annual Food Truck Fair moves to Uptown

AZ Canteen joins the 2nd Annual Food Truck Fair
AZ Canteen joins the 2nd Annual Food Truck Fair
Joy Summers
After what can be generously described as a steep learning curve, the Minnesota Food Truck Fair is returning with some big changes. The first Food Truck Fair was held in the North Loop and charged varying ticket fees for samples of food and craft beer. Attendees complained of excessively long lines, over-selling the event and a complete lack of water (among other things).

This year, the organizers have promised that there will be big changes. Not only will the event move to two blocks, south of Lake Street on Hennepin Avenue to 31st Street and east to Holmes Avenue, they are also doing away with an entry fee.

After the outrage of last year's attendees, we reached out to organizers to discuss what we could expect this year.

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The fair will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, with 29 food trucks -- twice as many as last year, local craft beers and live Minnesota bands. Trucks include Anchor Fish & Chips, AZ Canteen, Cajun to Geaux, Gastrotruck, Hola Arepa, Pimento Jamaican Grill, World Street Kitchen and more.

To address concerns, the Hot Dish spoke with one of the event organizers, Tom Broich.

Hot Dish: One of the major concerns last year was that there was no water available for attendees. The rumor was that were instructed not to bring any in. What is being done this year to make certain that there are beverage options other than the craft beer?

Tom Broich: This year, food trucks will have no limitations on selling pop or water. Therefore any food truck that has the ability to sell beverages will be encouraged to do so. We will also have many bottled water stations dispersed throughout the event. Further, moving our location out of a stuffy parking lot and into the heart of Uptown allows participants to explore local bars and restaurants if they are still hungry. Many vendors have their own handmade or artisanal drinks. Stop by Andrew Zimmern's AZ Canteen food truck for their famous Jamaican Hibiscus Punch.

Hot Dish: The piggyback complaint with no water is that this wasn't really a family friendly event. Will there be any specifically kid-friendly vendors?

Tom Broich: Face paintings, a games area, Ben and Jerry's Ice cream, and a hands-on kids art exhibition by Gabrielle Slow, will all contribute to a new, fun, and exciting atmosphere that all family members will feel comfortable attending. Kick back, relax, and dance to the funky styling of local band BluePrint while the kids enjoy an all-natural hot-dog from NateDog's or a Juicy Lucy burger from the Blue Door.

Hot Dish: Another issue last year was that the trucks weren't able to keep up with the number of attendees -- and that was with ticket sales, where they should have had a rough estimate of how many people they could expect. Now that there is no entry fee, no tickets -- how are they to know how much to prepare?

Tom Broich: Food trucks are quite familiar with the high-pressure demands of its hungry citizens. They prepare for a relatively unexpected day everyday. We can gauge attendance off of supporter's engagement, social media buzz and last year's attendance. It's not a perfect metric, but we have over twice as many food trucks that now fully understand that they are the main event.

Hot Dish: After all the vitriol generated after last year's event... why did you want to do this again?

Tom Broich:People have the opportunity to step out of the ordinary and veer away from their everyday kitchens to experience something funky and fresh. We strive to provide a positive and energetic experience that fuses local food, music, and breweries. When you're first starting to cook, your dish doesn't always turn out as expected. We have tweaked our recipe and are excited to share it with anyone who is willing to give it another try.

We are extremely excited about this year and hope you are as well!

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