Food Truck Fest celebrates expanded access to downtown GR

Roll'n Out Food Truck Fest, Grand Rapids, Heartside neighborhood
The Roll'n Out Food Truck Fest in Grand Rapids' Heartside Neighborhood on May 21, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There was a huge turnout Sunday at a food truck takeover in Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood.

More than 20 vendors parked on Ionia Avenue next to Heartside Park for the Roll’n Out Food Truck Fest. The event featured several unique eats, free games and culinary-themed movies on the big screen.

It kicked off the new food truck season and celebrated a new city ordinance that expands where food trucks can set up. Those who run the trucks say it will bring more food choices to Grand Rapids.

“Anada Ice just opened up — they’re doing the rolled ice cream which is a new concept for Grand Rapids. The Everyday Chef is selling the edible cookie dough — which nobody in Grand Rapids is doing yet. So it gives us an opportunity to bring new food ideas to the city,” Lauren D’Angelo, Vice President of the Grand Rapids Food Truck Association said.

Customers said it was worth waiting an hour and a half for the juicy, smoked flavor at Daddy Pete’s Barbecue.

“When I came down I perused the line went further down came back around and this smelled the best,” customer Mickey Wallace said. “And I saw the line and I’m like, ‘That might be an indication.’ Pulled up the menu and was like, ‘I’m going to get the chicken.'”

“We wanted to be something that when people saw it, they’re like, ‘Ah, that’s different there,'” said Cory Davis, the co-owner of Daddy Pete’s.

Davis said he and his wife started Daddy Pete’s Barbecue about four years ago, initially as a catering business. Now they work from a commercial trailer serving a Southern-style menu.

“I call it a hybrid of the Texas low and slow. Our brisket takes 16 to 18 hours smoked over apple and peach wood. We do St. Louis-style ribs, we do pulled pork, we do pulled chicken, we do smoked salmon on Fridays. So it’s just a vast array of different things that I would grow up eating when I would go down South,” Davis said.

Daddy Pete’s is taking off. Davis and his wife plan to open a second truck soon and hope to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant in a few years.

Members of the food truck industry say it’s growing in Grand Rapids and serving as a launching pad for local business.

“When I got here today and all the food trucks started rolling in, I honestly almost had a tear in my eye because this is what the city needs,” Davis said.

The event wrapped up at 7 p.m.

==Below, Kimberly Van Driel, the special events manager for Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., stopped by Daybreak Sunday to talk about the event.==