Rain doesn't deter diners at first food truck rally

Organizers had hoped for thousands, but many still came out for the mobile cuisine

July 08, 2011|By Jill Rosen, The Baltimore Sun

Sure, it was raining sideways, but that didn't stop people from lining up Friday evening in Harbor East for a taste of Baltimore's fledgling food truck scene.

It was the city's inaugural food truck rally, a chance to celebrate and encourage the city's latest culinary curiosity — restaurant fare like lobster macaroni and cheese and Key lime tarts sold from the side of service vehicles.

"This is exactly the sort of way I'd like to spend a Friday night," said Doron Kutnick, who, as soon as he saw chocolate-covered bacon on the Gypsy Queen truck menu, prophesied, "That's in my future."

"It's a splash of culture and hopefully something that will held build Baltimore's reputation as a food town," he said.

The crowds weren't the thousands that organizers, the new Baltimore Food Truck Association, had been hoping for, but dozens braved the weather, huddling under awnings and stepping carefully through deep puddles to check out the trucks parked together on a Central Avenue gravel lot.

Annmarie Langton, one of the owners of the Gypsy Queen, said the coming together of the city's mobile eateries — about 10 of them — should show Baltimore that the truck scene is here to stay.

"It means we've arrived," she said. "To see us all here together is a foodie's dream."

Buzz about the rally, called The Gathering, had raged on social media for the past week or so — with hundreds of people chatting it up on Facebook and Twitter.

In part, the event was designed to celebrate the end to what had been a tumultuous couple of months for food trucks. Things came to a head in May when the city threatened to shut some of the trucks down over a licensing problems. But in June, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake intervened on the trucks' behalf, creating parking zones where they could legally set up shop.

Campaign signs for Rawlings-Blake were all over the rally, and the mayor was expected to stop by later in the evening.

It was all the media attention that brought a number of people to the event — they wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

"I've been reading about all of this for weeks, and I had to check it out," said Melissa Greenfeld, who drove in from Reisterstown and was heading to her car to eat a burger from one truck and an order of fried green tomatoes from another. "I love the variety."

Allan Leitner from Northeast Baltimore, who in just a few minutes at the event had bought lobster macaroni and cheese, a turkey burger and an order of baba ghanouj, said half-jokingly that he might have been the first person to tweet about the rally — he was that excited about it.

"The food really gives some flavor to the city," he said. "I made a point to be here."


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