With epic lines and epic heat, one could think the massively flawed Haute Wheels Food Truck Festival might turn Houstonians away from food truck events in the near future.
Not so fast. Enter Hillary Hayden, who's been marketing her own version of a food truck event since before Haute Wheels. The first-ever Houston Food Crawl "Food Truck Friday" debuts today, but don't look for tickets — they are completely sold out.
"I started this all on my own, knowing that there was a great need to highlight our amazing restaurant scene and now food trucks as well," Hayden says. "I wanted a concept that created a very related social environment for everyone, and where they can make tons of new foodie friends. I've pretty much become the "go-to" person for food trucks in Houston now and it's awesome!
"I'm surrounding myself with people in an industry that has so much positive energy ... they all love and support each other."
Hayden has taken pains to make sure the food truck crawl, unlike the festival, can make everyone happy. Guests pay $23 for a ticket that includes an item of food from each of five food trucks, plus happy hour drink specials at the bar where the crawl ends. To enable speed, the crawlers will only get a set sample item from every food truck — Hayden says she wants to keep the exact menu a secret, but she posted a picture of the Korean-fusion quesadillas from Oh My Gogi! as a teaser.
Hayden is also limiting tickets to 150 per Friday, with 75 starting at 6 p.m. and the other half following them an hour later. The combination of a set menu, small dish sizes and a limited crowd that the trucks can time is all set up to limit long waits and help everyone participating enjoy as much food as possible.
The Food Truck Fridays will take place the fourth Friday of every month, and each will be centered around five trucks and at least one bar.
"I personally picked some of my favorite trucks and some that I thought were really amazing but didn't necessarily have a huge following yet," Hayden says.
The inaugural Food Truck Friday includes Oh My Gogi!, Mmm Cupcakes, Phamily Bites, Rollin' Hunger and Good Dog Hot Dog, with participants starting at the Salvation Army parking lot of Washington Avenue and progressing to Dark Horse Tavern before ending at Liberty Station.
And Hayden isn't stopping with Food Truck Fridays. Starting in August she's adding a monthly H-Town Food Crawl that will navigate between five brick-and-mortar restaurants on the second week of the month.
Though this week's event is sold out, tickets for the July Food Truck Friday (happening July 22 with Zilla Street Eats, Bullbutter BBQ, Eatsie Boys, Juice Girl, and Hit 'n' Run and anchored at The Boneyard) go on sale Friday.
Do you have tickets to the Food Crawl? What are you looking forward to most?