Hundreds pack Dearborn’s first Food Truck Rally


Bon appétit
Photo by Sherri Kolade
Westland resident Frank Herr (right) puts the final touches on his hot dog during the Food Truck Rally.

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Hungry bellies were filled with ice cream, hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, tacos and more eats and treats during the the city’s first Food Truck Rally July 20.

About 1,500 foodies, young and old alike, came in droves to the parking lot northwest of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street, and ate from about 10 food trucks selling gourmet on-the-go meals.

Some of the trucks included Franks Anatra, Concrete Cuisine, Treat Dreams, Ned’s, Mack Shack, El Guappo, PPC, and Jacques Tacos; most of the dishes were priced between $4 and $7.

Treat Dreams Food Truck owner Scott Moloney, who owns Treat Dreams in Ferndale, said he pitched the Food Truck Rally idea to the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I knew Dearborn would be a great location,” Moloney said while serving ice cream to a long line of youth and adults. “Salted caramel is always a favorite item.”

Moloney and the food truckers belong to the Michigan Mobile Food Vendors Association, a non-profit association that assists its members in the mobile food service industry via growth, development, and education, according to http://www.mmfva.org.

Moloney said MMFVA’s first event was in February and there are about five or six monthly mobile events.

“It has just taken off,” Moloney said. “Our experience is that it has been positive for (others).”

Mary Ann Gordy, of Dearborn, who used to live in Ferndale with her husband, said they also enjoyed the event in Ferndale.

“I am going to eat ice cream and eat at the macaroni cheese food truck,” she said, eyeing the trucks. “I came to see the variety of mobile food vendors.”

Marty Wilk, general manager of nearby Pizza Papalis, said at first he didn’t know what to expect from the Food Truck Rally, but he said anything that brings in new people to the area is a positive thing.

Wilk added that he did not see any increase in foot traffic to his restaurant during the rally, but the event could draw more customers to the restaurant.

“I don’t look at (the rally) as a competition,” Wilk said. “The product that we sell here is not going to be able to be purchased out there.

“We don’t see it as somebody is going to go to Pizza Papalis and see a truck out there making tacos and that would change their mind from coming here.”

Kiernan’s Steakhouse owner Dan Kiernan said bringing in customers to the area and his restaurant, at 21931 Michigan Ave., is a positive thing, but only if people know about it.

“Nobody that I know heard about the event,” Kiernan said. “If nobody knows about it, it has no effect. But if it brought new people to area it would have a positive effect.”

Franks Anatra Food Truck owner Bill The Hot Dog Guy said Dearborn’s Food Truck Rally is his 10th event around Michigan.

He said at the rally nice people and a decent income keep him going.

“This is more fun than any other job can offer,” Bill The Hot Dog Guy said.

Customer favorites include smoked Polish sausage and sauerkraut or a hot dog with raw onions, mustard, Italian dressing and cooked onions and peppers.

Bill The Hot Dog Guy said people at the event wouldn’t normally be in the area.

“They don’t know to come here,” he said. “So they will stop and get a hot dog and they’ll walk around and go to the record store; they will go to a book store and maybe have a beer somewhere.”

He added that the rally is a positive event that draws customers.

“It is very narrow mind that thinks it isn’t positive,” Bill The Hot Dog Guy said.

Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Giering said the event brought a good mix of people ranging from locals to people coming from Oakland County and western Wayne County.

“It brings great traffic to downtown west Dearborn and it sheds a positive light on the community,” Giering said. “We got overwhelming feedback from the attendees looking forward to the next event. Everyone had a riot.”

Future Food Truck Rally events will be held from 5 and 9 p.m. Aug. 24 and Sept. 21 in downtown west Dearborn.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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