By lunchtime on Friday you may be hankering for Detroit Restaurant Week to start, but set your sights a little lower than gourmet and you could come away with good -- and cheap -- grub at "Dine and Drive in the D."
Detroit's first food truck rally is coming to New Center at 11 a.m. Friday with 12 participating vendors. A new endeavor called Cheeze Wizard (we can only imagine magic wands made of string cheese... ) will make its debut at the event, alongside Ann Arbor's grilled cheese connosiuers Cheese Dream and area food truck veterans like Treat Dreams and El Guapo Grill.
The Farbman group is sponsoring the event with the Michigan Mobile Food Vendors Association. Christina DiBartolomeo, asset manager for Farbman, said there are more than 3,000 people in the area looking for lunch each day -- so why not bring lunch right to them?
"We see it as a nice one-day creative and fun way to bring attention to the area and to get people thinking about how food trucks can be part of the daily culture [in Detroit] like they are in other cities," she said.
Food trucks are relatively new to the region (year-old El Guapo is Detroit's first officially licensed food truck vendor), and food truck rallies are also just getting their start. But the events have already proven wildly popular.
Nearly 3,000 people showed up for the first Street Eats food truck rally in Royal Oak in the cold of February, according to Patch. The event was so successful that the city will now hold Street Eats events on the second Wednesday of every month.
Detroit's food truck rally is billed as the "largest and longest" the region has seen, and it could become a regular thing, too. "We'd absolutely love to host the food trucks on a regular basis," DiBartolomeo said.
El Guapo Grill's Dan Gearig said the food truck rallies are "a model that's really working for us in Detroit."
"We get to taste what other guys are doing, and it's a good family vibe with all the trucks," he said. "I believe in critical mass. I hope the more food trucks, the more flavor we can bring to support and grow this culture, the better."
"Dine and Drive in the D" will take place Friday, April 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Third Street between Lothrop Road and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Patrons can check out the following food trucks: Treat Dreams, Jacques’ Tacos, El Guapo Fresh Mexican Grill, Taco Mama, Frank’s Anatra, Concrete Cuisine, Ned’s TravelBurger, The People’s Pierogi Collective, Cheese Dream, Debajo del Sol and Cheese Wizard.