Love ‘em or lament ‘em, the food trucks are going to be back in full force at Art Walk Saturday night. The organizer of the food truck roundup, which sets up in a lot west of N.W. Second Avenue, between 22nd Street and 23rd Street, just sent out an email to all the trucks eligible for the event proclaiming, “WE HAVE A PERMIT AND THE EVENT IS OFFICIALLY ON! START TWEETING AND GET THE WORD OUT!”
The triumphant tone follows the cancellation of the popular culinary confab, which draws huge crowds to Wynwood, just days before last month’s second Saturday gallery crawl when Brad Knoefler, the neighborhood activist who spearheaded the creation of Grand Central Park in downtown, complained to the city that the trucks did not have a permit for the roundup. Many in the food truck community saw Knoefler’s actions as an attempt to shut down a competitor’s event — Grand Central Park also hosts food truck roundups — but Knoefler said that he was acting to protect the “general community” and that he was “tired of illegal events,” which he said were dangerous for the participants and potentially harmful to the reputation of the area.
Related Link: “Art Walk Guide: Vectors and Arias and ‘Inverted Night’”
What a difference a month makes. The email announcing the return of the food truck roundup came from Sakaya Kitchen Restaurant, which has a location in Midtown and Downtown and also the Dim Ssäm à gogo food truck. Sakaya Kitchen operator Richard Hales organizes the Art Walk roundup and, according to the email, he dealt with the city to make sure it went down this Saturday. In order to get the permit, the trucks had to hire a City of Miami fire inspector, who will be making sure each of the 37 participating trucks is up to code.
The return of the trucks will likely be met with mixed feelings among the tens of thousands of people who attend Art Walk every month. Some see the trucks as a complementary, fun, and tasty component of the overall event, while others, including certain gallery owners, believe they contribute to a circus-like environment that takes the “Art” out of “Art Walk”.
To be sure, the trucks bring out a lot of people — as the scant turnout at last month’s Art Walk made clear — and that means Wynwood will be packed on Saturday night. With several promising new exhibitions opening at Wynwood galleries, a trio of bands — Arboles Libres, Jellyfish Brothers, Eyelash — scheduled to perform on stage in the food truck lot, and the food trucks themselves cooking up a collective storm, the masses are in for sensory overload.