Report from the PARKED Food Truck Festival
The trucks parked up and down Fulton and Water streets right on the cobbles of the South Street Seaport.
The PARKED festival has come a long way since the first convocation of a handful of food vending trucks in the so-called Brooklyn Yards a couple of years ago. I remember four trucks then; this afternoon, from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m., the census ballooned to 32.
Mexicue was one of the more familiar trucks, and enjoyed some patronage for their barbecued-meat tacos on the basis of name recognition.
In addition to those trucks, there were an additional 10 temporary booths harboring businesses that had no trucks. If there's no truck, how can an establishment be part of a truck festival? You might wonder. These truck-less businesses sold shaved ices, macarons, meatballs, and ice cream sandwiches, among other things.
These trucks and booths were admitted right into the bosom of the seaport (occupying much more exalted and visible real estate than, say, the New Amsterdam Market), parked bumper to bumper on Fulton, Water, and Front streets. Many of the passing tourists seemed frankly bewildered at the random character of the offerings.
Exposure on reality TV assisted a couple of the trucks, and the lines were longest for the Korilla Korean taco truck. That truck enjoyed a couple of other benefits, too, giving it the very longest lines at the festival: It was parked on shady Water Street, along which there was a low stoop that permitted diners to eat their tacos, burritos, and rice bowls in comfort. In addition, the $7 price tag for three tacos was much more generous than, for example, the single $4 barbecued rib taco at Mexicue, which experienced more modest lines.
Shaved-ice drinks, like those at Kelvin, did very well; ice creams and ice cream sandwiches less well. The crowd patronizing the trucks appeared to be 80 percent tourists, and 20 percent foodies who'd showed up specially for the occasion.
Red Hook Lobster did well, but a couple of pastry and cupcake trucks did not, and some resorted to setting up tables in front of their trucks to better display and promote their wares. The Treats Truck gave out free samples, which was a good idea.
The Treats Truck brought the merchandise to the streets.
One of the booths illogically welcomed into the food-truck festival
The teriyaki balls are small round pastries stuffed with potato, shrimp, or sausage, and not a particularly good deal at $6 for a half dozen.
Could it be that Van Leeuwen is overexposed due to its fleet of ice cream trucks, or did tourists quail at the price?
Anything involving tacos and Korean -- like this Kimchi Taco truck -- was wildly popular.
Trucks parked along Front Street benefited from shady seating on the side.
Shaved-ice drinks proved most popular.
Korilla was among a handful of trucks doing really well, at least at around 1 p.m., three hours into the festival ...
... at least partly because the tacos are really, really good, and also a comparative good deal.
Like this post? Take a gander at the rest of our blog.
Follow us on Twitter if you dare: @robertsietsema [Robert Sietsema] @chantytown [Chantal Martineau] @ldshockey [Lauren Shockey] @ForkintheRoadVV
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to New York dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.