By Shannon Clinton
The summer’s winding down, school’s about to start back up, and Richmond has two tasty events lined up to keep the fun times going – Taste of Richmond and Food Truck Revolution.
Featuring food trucks from the Richmond area this year, Taste of Richmond will be held 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 29 at Richmond Centre, 2139 Lantern Ridge Dr., featuring more than 15 food trucks, as well as live music from Boogie G and the Titanics and beverages from Dreaming Creek Brewery and Chenault Vineyards.
This event is presented by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, and its Interim Director Madison Pergrem says the majority of food trucks featured are local, along with a few from nearby areas, offering sweet and savory treats to suit any craving.
“There’s a little bit of everything,” she said. “We were definitely looking for a variety, and it just so happened that we had a variety apply for it.”
Scheduled participants include Comete Alguito Colombian Street Food (arepas, empanadas, bowls and more), Drea’s Catfish Bucket, Sammich Man Express (cheesesteaks, burgers, wraps and more), Bluegrass Cheesesteak Express (cheesesteaks, burgers and pizza), Kona Ice, Little Donut Trailer, CindyLou Who’s Kettle Corn, Poppin J’s (kettle corn and lemonade), Jennabelle Treats (lemonade, rolled ice cream and more), Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee of the Bluegrass (coffee-based beverages, lemonade), Colonel Station (gourmet/specialty hot dogs, BBQ, nachos and more), Sizzlin’ & Sauced (southern comfort food), Swirl & Twirl (soft served ice cream/toppings), Piggin Out (specialty burgers and pulled pork) and specialty items from Newby’s Country Store.
David Johnson is owner/operator of Richmond-based Colonel Station Food Truck, serving up many varieties of hot dogs, BBQ sandwiches and sides like slaw, nachos, potato salad, ice cream-based treats and drinks. When not at events like Taste of Richmond, you’ll find him at festivals, benefits, schools and subdivisions.
Recently celebrating the food truck’s one-year anniversary, Johnson said this will be his first Taste of Richmond experience, and he’s eager to make new fans.
He said his hot dogs aren’t just adorned with squiggles of ketchup and mustard – their appeal lies in the creativity. He’s traveled to hot dog-serving establishments around the U.S. and has another trip planned to California soon, carefully observing what works best for others and gaining inspiration to add his own twists.
In addition to a few traditional favorites like his Chili Cheese Dog, “I think I offer a lot of different types of hot dogs that people do not really get to see every day or what’s normally offered,” he said.
One example is his attention-getting, tastebuds-torching “Ultra Death Dog” topped with a secret hot sauce, though his personal favorite is the Cole Slaw Dog, topped with chili and slaw, followed by close second, the Chicago Dog.
Taste of Richmond will be held rain or shine, with free admission and ample parking. Food trucks will be set up in the fountain area in front of the movie theater, perfect for bringing lawn chairs and listening to live music while you eat.
Pergrem said typically more than 1,000 people attend the event, adding that food trucks allow people to try both familiar favorites and new in one location.
“It’s kind of just a different atmosphere, and you can go and walk around and try numerous things which is great for the event that we’re specifically having, because we want to give you a taste of many different items,” she said.
Then, on Sunday, July 31, the first-ever Food Truck Revolution will be held 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Madison County Fairgrounds, 3237 Old Irvine Rd., Richmond.
This event, a food truck competition open to the public, is being launched by Brandi Bowles and her two daughters, who operate Sizzlin’ & Sauced and Swirl & Twirl food trucks.
After participating in a similar food truck competition in Renfro Valley, they were inspired to create one here.
Food Truck Revolution is being held at the fairgrounds rain or shine during $5 admission night at the fair, and Brandi Bowles’s goal is for “a couple thousand” hungry fairgoers to come experience the area’s best food trucks in culinary battle, armed with their best recipes.
She said in addition to Sizzlin’ & Sauced, competitors/participants include Bomb Ass Eggrolls, Comete Alguito, Drea’s Catfish Bucket, Boston’s Way, The Chuck Wagon, Bluegrass Cheesesteak Express, Smoked Food Truck, Q’s Cookin ET, Memaw’s Donuts & Deli and Lee’s Smoking Grill, with more expected to sign up before the big day.
“The trucks will come, and of course they will just serve to the public,” she said. “We have three local judges, and there will be three awards. One will be the Judges’ Pick, each truck will take what they think is their number one item and each judge will decide which truck has the best food.”
Judges include local foodies Gerald Tatum, Michael Hays and Cassie Beach, and their chosen winner will receive a $500 prize. Other categories – People’s Choice and Most Food Truck Spirit – will have awards of $300 and $200, respectively, Bowles said.
She said she hopes the event will go on to be held each year and keep growing.
“All we want is for the community to come out, have some great food, experience new food trucks and enjoy themselves!” she said.