Durham Central Park Food Truck Rodeo – Entrepreneurship and Food Meet


Fathers Day Weekend I finally had a chance to catch a Durham food truck rodeo. It seems like every time one of these grub fests was going on, I have been rotting away on a ship, drooling over the twitter posts. Finally last weekend on Father’s Day, I was on dry land with nothing to do, so we went down to Durham’s Central Park.

As we reached downtown, my excitement and hunger peaked at the thought of over 30 vendors (many of whom I had not had a chance to taste yet) all in one small park for the taking. It was late in the afternoon by the time we arrived. The area around the park was buzzing with action and parking was not easy to find. There was still a good crowd of people inside the park, some waiting in line, some trying to walk and stuff their faces at the same time, others just soaking in the reggae vibes that Dub Addis was laying down. The street and park was lined with trucks, making a horseshoe of tasty treats, the hardest part was to figure out where to begin.

The first truck I spotted was the current title holder of my favorite pizza, south of the Statue of Liberty, Klausie’s Pizza. They have introduced me to Detroit Style Pizza (which I mistook for a Sicilian slice) and proves extraordinarily good pizza can come out of something with a carburetor. I was half happy to see that they were all out of pizza because I didn’t want to use my appetite on something I have tasted recently, regardless of how much I knew I would enjoy it.

This was my first time coming across American Meltdown, offering gourmet melts but I knew I would have had a personal meltdown if I waited in the fourty- five minute line they had. They must have been doing something right, but waiting in line that long, in the direct sun was not my idea of a good time, I will catch them on the rebound.

The wife made a made pregnant dash for Parlez-Vous Crepes and grabbed one of their savory creations. By the time I met back up with her, she was a few chomps into the crepe so I never got to snap a shot, but from the few bites I stole, I see why she loves this truck.

My mother-in-law made her way to do battle in a long line of the popular Chirba Chirba. And from the few dumplings that got shuffled my way I was able to confirm Chirba Chirba is still pumping out quality goods

Having never seen their truck, I decided to try the offerings from Boxcarr Farms. The choices were a Chopped Salad with cucumber, radicchio, tomato, olives, feta and basil dressing. I skipped that one because I didn’t come here to knit. Second was the Spaetzle with braised greens, goat cheese tomato sauce….getting warmer. Third was the smoked ham with radish, turnip, cabbage and salsa on toast…sounded very nice but I kept on reading.

Last was the Braised Pork Belly, hominy potatoes, chili and herb broth with tortillas….YOU HAD ME AND PORK BELLY! This little dish blew my socks off, the pork belly had a nicely seasoned crunch on the outside with tender and flavorful meat nestled in the middle. Add in the potatoes, lightly bathed in broth, I nearly forgot I was supposed to be eating food that was just handed to me out of the window of a truck. After my foodgasim, I wiped my face and fought the urge to gorge everything else written on their black chalkboard. I settled for a personal  promise to stalk them until I have tried everything.

We finished the day off with some ices and I was stuffed. I walked away from Durham’s Central Park proud of the city I have adopted. While some cites around Durham are trying to stifle the efforts of these entrepreneurs, Durham is allowing them to thrive. While other cities are focusing on what a food truck could take away from their city, Durham is smart enough to understand what they add. If the food truck rodeo was not going on last Sunday, we would have stayed at home and tossed meat on the grill. Instead we came downtown and since we were already downtown we went over to the American Tobacco Campus and had a few beers at Tyler’s. The fact of the matter is food trucks cause a buzz. They initiate a gathering of hungry souls and make us come downtown to a great city and ask ourselves, “why don’t we come down here more often”.

Other cities need to remember that these are people with dreams, creativity and the nerve enough to chase them and that should be with rewarded with opportunity. No one is asking for a handout, just the opportunity to share what they love and make a buck doing it. Raleigh City Councilman John Odom stated that “I don’t think the city of Raleigh is going to fall apart if we don’t have food trucks. I’ am not looking forward to being like Durham.” He is exactly right, Raleigh will not fall apart and will continue to exists  but that view is very shortsighted and it couldn’t hurt to take a few cues from a city that was number thirty-five last year on the New York Time’s Places To Go in (the World) 2011 list.

Shortly after I finished writing this, I learned that the City of Durham will hold a hearing on Monday July 9th to discuss changes to the regulations that pertain to food trucks operating in the city. While there are a few ideas that may benefit the trucks it is being proposed to ban the operations of food trucks within the vicinity of the Durham’s Central Park. I do give the city come credit for calling  for a discussion and input from its citzens rather then just changing the regulations on the sly. Come out, make your voice heard and  support innovation and entrepeneurship in Durham.

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Categories: Durham

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