This past Sunday was the June Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. This event happens a handful of times throughout the summer and is one of my favorite summertime activities to do in the area. This was our first time going this year. We were in Denver for the May rodeo, but we went a few times last year. We arrived before the schedule start time of 1p and lines were already formed at some of the favorite trucks. There were so many more this year than last and it was really great to see it much more spread out. I think that helped control some of the issues that were around last year, like super long lines and early sell outs of popular dishes.
Since it’s such a crazy event, here are a few tips on how to make the most of your time at the rodeo:
- Get there early! As I mentioned above, lines were already formed before the schedule start time so if you don’t want to wait for 20+ minutes just to order, try to beat the crowd.
- Walk the whole rodeo first or check out trucks before you go. Since there’s such a variety and new trucks being added each time, we walk the whole rodeo and read menus first then go back to those trucks when we’re ready to order. We have our favorites but we know where we can find them throughout the year if we have a craving. Trying new trucks each time isn’t hard to do with so many tasty options available. And, if you like to prepare ahead of time, check the website to see the lineup before you head out.
- Share dishes with friends. When Jason and I go, we want to try as much as we can so we pick one or two small dishes from a few trucks and split everything. That way, we don’t stuff ourselves on the first truck and miss out on other awesome dishes.
Jason and I decided to try out some dishes from Olio & Aceto (left) and MaMa Dukes (right). On the left is a Maple Pork Loin sandwich: braised kale, Provolone, and Signature Mayo on a Pretzel Hoagie Roll. On the right is a Chopped Chicken Bowl with potato, carrots, corn, onions, and rice. Both were super tasty! Where else can you try such different dishes?
- Step outside of your comfort zone. I’m a lot less picky than I used to be but I’m still not super adventurous. But when it comes to foodie events like this, I am much more willing to give something new a try because that’s what you’re there for! And, in my experience, I probably won’t be disappointed.
- Always get dessert! Those dessert trucks pull out all the stops and I feel like you’re less likely to see them out during the year since places, like breweries, who have regular food truck events usually only invite trucks who serve meals for lunch or dinner. I don’t think your experience is complete until you hit up the dessert truck.
The delicious ice cream sandwiches above were from the Ice Queen Ice Cream truck. Mine on top was the Kermint: Mint Chip, Cookies ‘n Cream, an Oreo, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Jason’s on the bottom was the Cookie Monster: Cookies ‘n Cream, Chocolate, an Oreo, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Have you been to the Food Truck Rodeo in Raleigh or one in your hometown? What’s your favorite part? — Annie