It was a dark and dreary night…. But the meatballs were cooked to perfection. So began Friday evening’s Check Please! Food Truck Fest at WTTW Studios on Chicago’s Northwest Side. This event, which featured thirteen different food truck vendors, plus three beer, wine and water suppliers was the opening salvo for what is expected to be a new and tasty addition to the Chicagoland culinary scene. Gourmet trucks plying the streets of major cities such as: Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C. have been a fixture on the urban landscape for some time. Chicago has just recently joined the ranks of mobile food vendors ladling out everything from chicken soup to sushi to an enthusiastic response from consumers. These food trucks must adhere to the same exacting health code standards as all other free standing eating establishments.
The beauty of the food trucks, which was on display Friday evening is that one can enjoy truly good food, on the run. Somehow, I managed to sample everything being offered from all thirteen trucks. These were the real deal. Everything I tasted from the savory pies offered by Pleasant House to the cupcakes from Cupcakes For Courage was fresh and delicious.
The weather gods, who apparently were neither hungry nor interested in Friday night revelry, harassed the crowds for the duration of the event with a light but steady drizzle. The weather may have been soggy, but, people’s spirits could not be dampened. The hungry and the wet queued up patiently to the food trucks anticipating the next tasty treat. The average wait time in line was approximately fifteen minutes.
Check Please! did a commendable job of pulling together a good and varied assortment of menu offerings. There was something available for all tastes ranging from the familiar but generously portioned meatball sandwich from Gotta Polpetta! and tomato and lentil soups from Soups In The Loop, to the slightly spicy beef gumbo from Duck N Roll as well as aged beef sliders from Wagu Wagon. Other purveyors included: Bergstein’s NY Delicatessen, Caponie’s Express, Curried, E.leaven Food Company, Don Rafa Restaurant, Falafel Brothers and Ice3 for frozen confections. Lagunitas Brewing Company, Terlato Family Vineyards, and Glaceau Vitamin Water rounded out the evenings beverage offerings.
With the exception of the ugly weather, the Check Please! Food Truck Fest was a wonderful event with a nice mix of food categories and styles. My one complaint, and this is more of a logistics issue was the lack of signage directing attendees to the correct parking lot as well as the venue itself- minor point but something to keep in mind for the future.
Photos by: John DiNello