Getting Your Food Truck Fix: DC’s Annual Truckeroo
Angeline Rosato | 9/21/15 9:58am
| Updated 9/28/15 11:18am
A wave of people, rock music, and savory aromas reverberated from the Fairgrounds as my roommates and I rounded the corner of M and Half Street. The sun setting and the day ending, it was time for the night festivities at the Truckeroo Food Truck Festival to begin.
The Truckeroo Food Truck Festival is an annual gathering of about 25 popular food trucks from the DC area. According to a 2011 Washington Post article, the site’s bar owner Bo Blair created it in 2011 in an attempt to attract business while the Nats were “out of town.” The event runs one day a month from April to September, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On average, 25,000 people attend any given Truckeroo event. After witnessing the crowds the event generated this past Friday at the last Truckeroo of the year, I can only say mission accomplished by Blair.
After passing through bag check, we ambled through the area, checking out the sights. A band played live tunes up front onstage, and block-party-style lights created a warm aura with the Nats Stadium in the background. Food trucks framed the inner rectangle, which was sparsely populated with some picnic tables and a tent with more picnic tables to the side. More trucks were parked in the back. And while the crowd largely consisted of couples in their late 20s and early 30s who were kicking off their weekend with an event way more unique than their typical happy hour, many families and older couples attended as well. The mood was like nothing else: take the vibes given off by an outdoor summer concert and throw in the hectic street environment of food trucks, and you’ve perfectly captured it. In sum, the Fairgrounds successfully created a welcoming atmosphere for all.
As for food, you could pretty much find anything within the one-block site. Trucks served specialties ranging from French crepes and Maine lobster rolls (though as a New England native, I avoided that truck like the plague), to Spanish tapas and D.C. cupcakes, to Halal cuisine and Italian ice. Portions and prices obviously depended on the food truck — I bought two smaller empanadas from DC Empanadas for $8, and my roommates’ larger Philly cheesesteaks were $10. A “Huge Huge Ice Cream Sandwich” from Orange Cow was $7 (they were, in fact, really huge). And it was easy to tell which trucks were most popular — while we were there, some lines got up to 50 people long.
Overall, the Festival is a huge community-building event. A great money-making and relationship-building publicity stunt for local food trucks, it has even extended beyond D.C. in past years. In 2012, it welcomed friendly competition from other food truck events in the DMV area. The gathering also generates an inspiring aspect of togetherness amongst its participants. The vast majority of the crowd took to the expansive standing room in the middle of the grounds, perfect for mingling and conversation; it provides opportunities to meet and talk with fellow D.C. residents over food. It is also an ideal place and time to catch up with friends, especially while waiting in those long lines (though if you’re like us, you’ll learn to buy food in one truck and eat it while waiting in line for another truck — time management is key, right?).
Though a visit can be a bit on the pricier side for a college student’s budget (I spent a total of $18 on food and beverages, but admission was free!), the delicious food and the awesome experience is well worth it. I got to spend valuable time with my roommates (a rare moment between our busy schedules) and get a first taste of the iconic D.C. food truck culture (now I know which trucks to stalk in the future). With the final weekends of summer upon us, I could not think of a better way to spend the night. Although Truckeroo won’t be back until April next year, food trucks will still be parked around
Although Truckeroo won’t be back until April next year, food trucks will still be parked around the city during the weeks. Check out the “Food Truck Tracker” to locate your favorite trucks year-round.