The hardest part about the new boom on the food truck scene can be selecting which truck’s fare to sample.
Popular in many major cities, comfort and ethnic food sold at reasonable prices without the hassle of the full dining out experience, is what has made the food truck business thrive. And now for the second year in a row, East End foodies will have the opportunity to sample meals from more than 20 local and Manhattan food trucks at “The Great Food Truck Derby 2013.”
On August 9, from 4 to 7:30 p.m., the mobile eats will be available for the picking at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton. Tickets are $60 and allow a plate of food from each truck. For $75, participants will also receive a subscription to Edible East End magazine, which is presenting the event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Jeff’s Kitchen, the kids cooking school at Hayground.
Despite a torrential downpour on the day of last year’s event, and a few logistical challenges, it was a huge success, according to Edible East End Editor Brian Halweil, who is also the Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan publisher. This year, he expects to see more of the same.
“We have a robust group and we are pretty excited about it this year,” he said. “The event is where the magazine comes to life and you get to touch the people we write about.”
Among the notable food truck participants this year will be Montaco, Hamptons Foodie, Morris Grilled Cheese, Sweet’tauk and Rickshaw Dumplings. Southampton Publick House and Brooklyn Brewery will be serving beer, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard will be serving wine.
Hamptons Foodie owner Laurie Trujillo-Mamay ran the first mobile kitchen on the East End. She has been in business for nine years, and this is her second year participating in The Great Food Truck Derby.
“It’s going to be ridiculously crazy. Last year it torrentially downpoured and there were 700 people who came anyway,” Ms. Trujillo-Mamay said. “They stopped selling tickets at the door at 600 and turned away a hundred more.”
In her nine years of selling food out of her truck at Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack, Ms. Trujillo-Mamay has watched the Hamptons’ food truck scene grow tremendously.
“Oh my god it’s getting totally out of control and crazy, it’s phenomenal. It was definitely not what it is now, especially Montauk. That place is out of control,” Ms. Trujillo-Mamay said.
The giant pink Montaco truck, owned by Mars Ostarello, is one of the Montauk vendors that will be participating for its second year.
“We are going to have a big event this year and it’s going to be great,” Ms. Ostarello said. “I think that we were already shocked at the outcome of the first one in terms of attendance and this year I think it will be a bigger crowd and more families.”
Four summers ago Ms. Ostarello was sitting on the beach in Montauk. It was after 5 p.m., still beautiful, but all of the beach-side restaurants were closed.
“Why isn’t there somewhere that I can eat something healthy and delicious and fresh?” she said she asked herself.
She began researching how to open a food truck. With help from friends in the restaurant industry, such as Nicholas Cox and Serge Becker of La Esquina in Manhattan, she was able to lay out the truck and start serving the healthy tacos she had been searching for.
“There’s always obstacles but you can definitely tackle them with persistence, asking the right questions and doing your due diligence,” Ms. Ostarello said. “People are happier to help you than you would think.”
For many first time restaurateurs, food trucks are the way to go because they require less overhead, less risk upon initial investment and they are very popular right now. The permitting process is different for each town, and although it can pose a challenge it is not impossible to get the right paperwork and approvals.
Aside from the low start-up costs, the additional benefit of owning a food truck in a seasonal community, according to Ms. Trujillo-Mamay, is the flexibility it offers.
“I have paddleboards here. We don’t sit in the trailer 24-7, we jump in the water when it’s hot, lay in the sun when it’s slow and go on the paddleboards in the bay,” Ms. Trujillo-Mamay said.
The point of The Great Food Truck Derby, she said, is similar. Just have fun and enjoy some good food.
“It’s just going to be awesome … it’s a great event and it’s going to get better and better,” Ms. Trujillo-Mamay said.
The Great Food Truck Derby will be held on Friday, August 9, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Hayground School in Bridgehampton. Tickets are $60, or $75 for admittance and a subscription to Edible East End. For more information visit edibleeastend.com.