On Duke University's West Campus, students line up for Nutella-filled crepes outside the Parlez-Vous Crepe truck, wait for pork and edamame dumplings at Chirba Chirba and ask questions about the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at Will and Pop's.
Over on Broad Street, folks stop on the way home from work at Triangle Raw Foodists for to-go containers of raw versions of pad Thai and sushi.
Outside Fullsteam brewery and Motorco Music Hall, sweaty runners reward themselves with slices of pizza from Pie Pushers, scoops of ice cream from The Parlour and baguette-wrapped sausages from Baguettaboutit.
This isn't a weekend night. All these food trucks are on the road and business is hopping on a Wednesday evening.
Unlike brick-and-mortar restaurants, the hunt for mobile restaurants is as much fun as the dining experience. You can decide to go in search of the trucks, eating your way across town. You can enjoy the serendipity of stumbling across one and enjoying an impromptu dinner on the sidewalk. Or you can attend one of the many food truck gatherings, two of which are this weekend, and sample the fare from many trucks.
Two years ago, there were maybe a dozen food trucks in the Triangle beyond the typical taco trucks. Now there are more than 30 trucks serving pretzels to cupcakes, curry to patty melts. A handful of others are on the horizon. And then there's the bikes and carts serving coffee, doughnuts and Mexican popsicles. It seems there is no limit to our appetites for food-truck fare.
"I don't think we're anywhere close to saturation," says Sam Poley, a spokesman for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2008, Poley, a former chef, helped launch the Only Burger truck, the Triangle's first non-taco truck that spurred this food-truck explosion.
Since Only Burger first hit the road in Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill have opened their streets to food trucks. Although those cities dictate where trucks can go, the expanding market and the trucks' continued popularity have led other entrepreneurs to join the fray.
Matt Hayden and Nick Crossin, a manager and bartender, respectively, at Raleigh's 18 Seaboard restaurant, hope to launch their Porchetta RDU truck by June. They will be serving the classic Italian street food, herb-and-fennel-rubbed pork roast.
"I really think there's a ton of growth potential for food trucks in this area," Hayden says. "I'm really excited to get on the road."