Food Trucks

Last Saturday's Wynwood Food Truck Meetup Drama Free

After last week's City of Miami press release and statement, as well as various emails and rumors that Wynwood art gallery owners might be less than thrilled about food trucks serving on the streets during Second Saturdays, there was a feeling of "anything can happen" in the air. What happened was a drama-free evening.

At 8 p.m., NW Second Avenue was filled with a steady stream of people strolling in and out of galleries and shops, many with plastic cups of complimentary Chardonnay provided by some of the local merchants despite the rumor/threat that free libations would cease.

Though there were no food trucks to be found on the northern part of the art walk, at NW Second Avenue and 24th Street, you could smell the food before you could see the trucks. Grillmaster Cafe, Chipstix and Naco Mama's were doing a brisk business next door to the Harold Golen Gallery. If there was ever a good pairing of gallery and food truck, this was it. The gallery features art that depicts aliens and modern space travel ala The Jetsons, while a band played funky surfer tunes outside. Grillmaster was doing a brisk business. Were police on the scene? Well, yes, in a way -- the police weren't out to harrass, but they were in line to buy dinner.

Moving a block to the south, an empty lot on 22nd Street is where Wynwood Market, basically a combination art & craft market and food trucker roundup, is located. About a dozen trucks were on the scene, each busier than the next. A DJ was spinning tunes and a full bar was set up to serve cocktails, wine and beer.

Name a demographic and it was represented at Saturday night's food court - young hipsters waited on line for a grilled cheese from CheeseMe alongside a woman with a diamond-bezel Presidential Rolex. Families with children sidled over to Sugar Yummy Mama to purchase one of her few remaining cake pops for a sugar fix, and a group of young professionals lingered in the center of the crowd, wondering what to eat next.

Richard Hales, owner of Dim Ssam a Gogo, likes Wynwood's vibe." This is more of an adult event, but it's still a family business. This is a perfect entertainment solution in this economy -- it's no frills." When asked about the City of Miami's press release, Hales said, "We're in it for the long haul. We're not a fad. We need to sit down with the people that are putting together these laws and ask how we can all work together. We're not peddlers. Our existence doesn't work with that permitting process. We're more like a pop-up community."

While waiting for the rest of her group to come back from getting some eats, Kristi from Miami said she fell in love with food trucks when she first encountered them in Portland, where her daughter lives. When asked about whether the trucks should continue holding roundups in Miami, Kristi said, "They should be licensed, they should be regulated but they should stay. They have a following."

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss