DURHAM — Just to get a box of Monuts Donuts, Jesse Israel drove all the way from Raleigh for Sundays Food Truck Rodeo in Durham Central Park.
Theyre worth it, man, theyre worth it, he said. Monuts Donuts and bikeCoffee to go with it. ... We dont have anything close in Raleigh.
Israel was one of the first customers for what organizer Brian Bottger said was the Triangles largest ever. Forty-five vendors trucks and carts enclosed the downtown park. I walked through the whole thing and theres lot that smells good, said Israel, who was accompanied by his German shepherd, Boone.
He likes it out here. Lots of other dogs, Israel said.
Business was already brisk by the advertised 12:30 starting time, and patrons were still arriving at the advertised 4:30 close. Trucks filled the space under the Durham Farmers Market pavilion, lined both sides of adjacent Foster Street and ran another block east while craft vendors spread over the grass below the skate park and music played on two stages.
Patrons spread across a shady hillside to eat and socialize, but the hungry appeared undaunted by the heat and an off-and-on threat of rain. The only sign the weather was having an effect was lengthening lines at the ice cream and shaved-ice vendors as the day wore on.
The best ever. The biggest ever, said Alice Sharpe, a member of the Durham Central Park board who was enjoying the spectacle from under the nonprofits canopy.
Some of the longest lines were at Martins Curry Rice from Morrisville for a while.
We brought about 200 plates of food and ... sold out in about an hour and 15 minutes. said Martin Sreshta, the owner. Phenomenal.
Sreshta said he had not brought his truck to a rodeo before, but does park regularly at the nearby Fullsteam Brewery and appreciates Durhams openness to culinary experiences.
The whole foodie culture is happening in Durham, he said. And pretty much its got the younger, 20s and 30s people who eat out a lot.
This is something youll never see in any other part of the Triangle. So many people, he said.
Rodeo-goers could choose from half a dozen varieties of barbecue, including Korean; cakes, gourmet popsicles, ices, homemade sausage, raw vegetables, Greek street food even popcorn, potato chips and candy bars, among a host of other things.
Zach Weber of Durham said his plate of Korean barbecue was the third fare he had sampled, after a Greek pork kebab and a Japanese meal.
Its all good, he said. Lines were long, but not too bad.
We circled the whole area before and looked at everything before we decided what we wanted, said Ray James of Durham. He settled on a muffaletta; his wife, Margaret, a crepe.
Its great, I think they should do it every year, he said. Maybe even do it in the fall, when its cooler.
Nina Holmes came from Wake Forest, bringing her son, Dino, and nephew, Tyler Stake, who was down from Ohio. She came for Monuts Donuts, too, but arrived too late. They ran out before we got here, she said. Instead, she said tried a sweetwater icee and a Chinese dumpling from ChirbaChirba.
The dumplings were favorites for Dino, 11. They just taste real good, he said. Stake was pleased with his Only Burger.
Probably one of the best burgers Ive ever had, he said, and he liked the awesomeness of the whole event.
Well be back, Holmes said.