Revving Up for Summer: Food Truck Fridays

 Photo: Cat Mayer

Photo: Cat Mayer

Summer in the Grand Valley demands fresh, fun outdoor dining — and Food Truck Fridays have answered the call. With three rotating posts in Grand Junction’s Lincoln Park, Palisade’s Saint Kathryn’s Cellars/Talon Winery, and Fruita’s Civic Center, there are more Fridays than ever to join in the good times. Vendors will vary from week to week, allowing foodies and families to sample cuisine that spans the globe, from El Salvadorian pupusas to Alaskan seafood tacos.

    Food trucks have been enjoying growing popularity and acclaim since 2008, when now-world-famous chef Roy Choy opened his first Kogi BBQ truck in Los Angeles. Since then, the craze has spread across the country as entrepreneurs and chefs seize the opportunity to put their products on the market at a considerably lower cost.

    Not to be left out, enterprising residents of the Grand Valley have channeled their dreams of restaurant ownership into mobile units instead. “It’s a great way for me to test out my recipes,” says Scott Dvorak, owner of the Spaghetti Mill and first-time vendor at Food Truck Fridays. “I want to open a brick and mortar as soon as I find the right place,” adds Dvorak, who also holds a full-time corporate sales job. His dream is to do the Spaghetti Mill full-time. His menu offers unique items with local flavor — including handmade meatballs, sausages, and a freshly-made sauce that boasts 10 never-frozen vegetables.

    Like many food truckers, Dvorak doesn’t offer his complete repertoire at every event. “For Food Truck Friday, I wanted to do something that I can serve up fast and that’s easy to eat standing up,” he says, “So, for now, I am serving my sandwiches: Italian hoagie with meatballs or sausage, and my hot pastrami with a half-pound of meat piled on.”

    Dvorak’s pride for what he does shines through as he shares his love of cooking and the alchemy of mixing flavors. “The best part, though” he beams, “is seeing the satisfaction on people’s faces when they take their first bite.”

    While the trucks and their delights are the main attraction, there are still more reasons to check out Food Truck Fridays. Several Fridays are paired with Movies in the Park, where family-friendly films are projected at dusk on a big outdoor screen. Food Truck Fridays will also feature live music from local musicians, such as one favorite, Tim + Richard.

    If your summer is made complete by sticky fingers, grass-stained knees, and the aroma of smoke and food mingling in the air, then Food Truck Fridays have all the ingredients you need. Check out grandvalleyfoodtruckfridays.com for this season’s schedule.

    For days when you want to party in your own backyard, or if you are accommodating special dietary needs, try these food-truck-inspired dishes, courtesy of Taproot Catering.