Mobile chefs to battle at TRUCK-a-ROO

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lumina News file photo 

James Smith, owner of The Patty Wagon, will compete against other Wilmington food trucks at TRUCK-a-ROO on Saturday, Nov. 2, in the parking lot on the corner of Water and Princess streets.

Capitalizing on the growing food truck scene in Wilmington, Pipeline Event Management co-owner Chris Lee said he and his company wanted to give food truck owners a venue to meet potential diners and vice-versa.

What followed was the launch of the semi-annual TRUCK-a-ROO, a gathering of Wilmington food trucks along the Cape Fear River where the trucks compete for diners’ votes.

“We saw the trend growing nationally and it takes longer for Wilmington to catch on so we wanted to spearhead that,” Lee said. “We wanted to introduce the market to the idea and get people comfortable with eating out of a truck and the quality of food you can get versus what your perception might be.”

Set for 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, in the parking lot on the corner of Water and Princess streets, the five food trucks that will battle for votes are Catch the Food Truck, Tacos El Nene, Poor Piggy’s, The Patty Wagon and Flaming Amy’s Sacred Burrito Bus. Flaming Amy’s won the inaugural event with churkey changas — chicken and turkey chimichangas — and Lee said the bus would be back this year with that winning dish. 

“The event has been really positive,” Lee said. “We see families and friends and groups coming by the truckloads and using the opportunity to get together. We have a beautiful setting down there with the water and everyone can appreciate a nice, crisp fall day.”

Diners have the option to buy a sample ticket that includes a tasting of each of the five trucks and the opportunity to vote or simply go to the event for free and buy food from the individual trucks themselves. The sample tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the event, but Lee said they have consistently sold out the week prior to the event. 

Along with the food trucks, local beverages will be on hand and the Freaker Boxtruck will be set up as the music stage where rock-reggae band Signal Fire and the rock, soul and reggae David Dixon Trio will perform throughout the event. 

Lee said sample tickets have been selling quickly this year, and that the food truck scene is alive and well with more food trucks continuing to start up. A couple new trucks currently in works could make appearances at the TRUCK-a-ROO if completed in time, he said. 

“It is something that is still riding off some hype, but I think it is something that also will become stable,” Lee said. “There are other trucks on the horizon and the plan is to make this a semiannual event that continues to grow to however many. We will never get to the size Raleigh, Charlotte and the Triangle have but we will have a respectable number for our market.”

If the Wilmington food truck scene continues to grow, Lee said there could be inter-city food truck competitions on the horizon between Wilmington and those other markets like Raleigh and Charlotte. 

For more information and to purchase sample tickets, visit 


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