That’s an incredible projection for a relatively new, grassroots event. But there’s something about bringing locally owned food trucks and street food vendors together in a giant parking lot in the middle of town that’s lit up this city.
For the first Eat the Street on Kapiolani Boulevard, the Twitter buzz was strong, and more than 1,200 people came. This time — with 26 food vendors and more spacious digs in a four-acre, Kamehameha Schools-owned parking lot — the buzz for Eat the Street is extending well beyond the socially networked set. We’re thinking hundreds of new folks will join the Twitterati and foodies who braved 90-minute lines at January’s event.
Friends of mine, who aren’t on Twitter and aren’t among the typical crowd you see at big events, are coming. And longtime food truck owners, who also don’t Twitter and weren’t part of the last Eat the Street, say they signed up for Friday’s rally at the urging of their customers. There’s talk on Twitter of trying for a Super Swarm Badge on Foursquare, requiring 250 people to check in. And there’s the Eat the Street blog I posted on Monday — basically just a straightforward event listing — which now has about 400 Facebook “likes,” a record for any Nonstop Honolulu content.
What is it about this food truck rally, the brainchild of Streetgrindz.com’s Poni Askew, that’s stirring so much excitement?
First, the event evolves around food, and that alone will inspire crowds. But it’s also a new type of eating event, with food trucks of all genres lining a big parking lot to serve everything from lobster bisque to gourmet cupcakes to Asian-style tacos to Southern fried chicken. Even with such gourmet offerings, just about everything is under $10, which essentially means it’s a free cheap eats festival that appeals to all palates. In this economy, that’s a huge draw.
It’s also fun and trendy. Food truck rallies are huge on the Mainland, so now Hawaii can get in on the action too.
People in Honolulu also love streetfests and outdoor events. With weather like we have, there’s no need to explain why.
And aside from the prospect of a huge turnout, this is a non-intimidating event. The whole family can come. It’s taking place at a reasonable hour (5-9 p.m.). You won’t feel out of place if you’re not a twentysomething or thirtysomething go-out person. And you don’t have to dress up to be seen. (We’ll all have taco sauce and cupcake crumbs spilled on our shirts by the end of the night.)
Finally, the media push has been big. KITV agreed to be the TV news partner for the event and has been running daily segments on its morning show with truck owners showing off their eats. And here on Nonstop Honolulu, as the promotional partner for this event, we’ve been running lots of preview content in our special Eat the Street section.
So anyway, we’re hoping for a warm, clear evening on Friday. And if so, hopefully you’ll join us and the hundreds of other eating enthusiasts out there for what could be a really memorable night.
Eat the Street Kaka’ako
555 South St. (at Halekauwila St.)
KITV is providing exclusive coverage of some of the food trucks participating in Friday’s Eat the Street Kaka’ako. Monday morning’s segment featured Pei Chen and Eliza Hall of Fairy Cakes Hawaii talking about their homemade cupcakes, brownies and Whoopee pies, a dessert that they say is so good, it makes people scream, “Whoopee!” KITV anchor Mahealani Richardson and reporter Yasmin Dar tasted the treats, along with Nonstop Honolulu’s own John Garcia.
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