A line of more than 100 people snaking through the middle of the Food Truck Festival in Troy on Saturday was a good sign to 26-year-old Matt Cooper.
“I saw everyone else waiting in line, and I figure it must be good,” said the Saratoga Springs man.
Cooper was still 50 feet from ordering after waiting 40 minutes. Twenty minutes later, he was still about 15 feet from a variety of gourmet sliders and tapas-inspired street food.
The long lines were a product of more than 1,000 people packing Riverfront Park, where more than a dozen food trucks had assembled for the seven-hour festival. Adjacent to the trucks, which encircled picnic tables, was a stage set up to host a constant string of musical performers.
This was the first festival of its kind in the Capital Region, where food trucks are becoming more and more popular. They’re a staple outside the state Capitol in Albany in nice weather, while the blue Wandering Dago truck can now be seen around the Union College campus in Schenectady, Fitzy’s Fork in the Road was parked outside Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility in Malta on mornings last summer and Eat Good Food will be in new locations this summer around Saratoga Springs.
Cooper was familiar with Eat Good Food, which was at Saturday’s festival. He said those experiences led him to expect quality food — “and quick service,” he said. “Except on a day like today, when it is packed.”
The variety of food included hamburgers, gyros, pulled pork sandwiches, French fries, Philly steak sandwiches and frozen desserts. One truck only served potato products such as fries, chips or baked potatoes, with different toppings including sour cream, cheddar cheese and swiss cheese sauces, bacon, ham, chicken, mushrooms and onions.
There were also wood-fired pizzas served by David Britton and his family and staff at Pies on Wheels. A production line was set up behind the counter where they were taking orders. Britton would ready the dough and pass it along to receive the sauce, cheeses and meats that had been ordered. Then it was put into a 6,500-pound, wood-fired oven on the back of a truck.
Less than three minutes would typically pass between an order and service, which was important considering that a line of more than 50 people never seemed to go away. Because of the size of the oven, they’re able to do multiple pizzas at once — and they did more than 150 an hour Saturday.
“It feels likes a Travers,” said Britton, comparing the busy flow to lines that build up at Saratoga Race Course, where his Pies on Wheels operation moves during the 40-day meet.
For Saturday’s event, they also served chicken wings, a new offering so popular that all 800 they had prepared were gone in less than three hours.
Niskayuna resident Damien Pinto-Martin, an occasional customer at the food trucks by the Capitol, settled in front of the stage with a pulled pork sandwich and macaroni salad. He had picked food from Fitzy’s Fork in the Road the same way he chooses food trucks in Albany.
“They had a short line,” he said after putting his sandwich down.
It was a deceptive line, though, because there was still a long wait. Considering his wait, he would only rate the sandwich as “not bad.”
For more information about future food truck festivals, go to www.foodtruckfestivalsofny.com.