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The food truck season is heating up for Chris Remrey. “We’ve got a pretty good reputation with our food. … We have a loyal following of people who follow us all over,” said Mr. Remrey, who runs the Creative Catering Caravan truck in the Clinton, Iowa, area. That loyal following of foodies is helping keep a red hot food truck industry popular across the Quad Cities region. Some food truck owners and operators say their business has never been better. Many food fans love the trucks for the convenience, prices, but mostly for the almost instant gratification of good food. Perhaps the most popular item on the Creative Catering Caravan’s menu is the birria quesatacos, said Mr. Remrey. They are described as a chile braised pork shoulder grilled in a corn tortilla with queso blanco, onion and cilantro. (And if that sounds like too much, Mr. Remrey also serves up the old favorites of Gringo style tacos and street tacos.) A quick trip down the food trucks’ menu lane finds these offerings by other trucks: woodfire pizza, Jamaican jerk chicken, nachos, burgers, sliders, ribs, shrimp and fish, root beer sundaes and a lot more. The growing popularity for food trucks could be seen on a recent day at the K&K Hardware store’s parking lot in downtown Bettendorf. A La Flama food truck was attracting a crowd of customers around noon, even though the day was rainy and cool. “The quality of the food here is great,” Sam Kruckenberg, of Rock Island, said after purchasing a burrito from the truck. “You get a real decent amount. I see they had to raise their prices, but the food is still great.” Another food truck fan there said he liked the fast service. “It’s quick and relatively cheap,” said Tom Wilson of Moline. The food truck frenzy in the region has also been noted by business and community advocates who are looking to bring the trucks to various events. “Our community has embraced food trucks because it’s a great way to taste a wide array of unique menu items, and at the same time support your neighbor,” said Steve Ahrens, executive officer of the Davenport Riverfront Improvement Commission. “We are truly fortunate for the diverse food options offered here.” The food trucks and their diverse food options have become so popular that it has become a challenge to find trucks for various events and venues, some business advocates say. Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP), recently told the QCBJ that the demand for food trucks is greater than the supply. “The truck owners operating are so busy and fully scheduled it can be difficult to get them for any event,” Mr. Carter said. “That’s amazing news for our friends in the industry, but we could use a few more trucks. Trucks are booked solid for the year and businesses in the region are lucky to get one routinely on site. That’s why you tend to see food trucks at special events and particular businesses; not random corners of town out of the blue.”
Here are some locations where food trucks in the region will be in the coming weeks:
- Food trucks will once again be a featured part of the every Friday night Mercado on Fifth marketplace in downtown Moline, which is open this year from May 27 to Sept. 30. Starting this year and beginning the first week in June as many as three food trucks also will take advantage of Mercado’s new Fast Food Lane and serve up lunch every Wednesday, said Anamaria Rocha, executive director of Mercado on Fifth.
- The annual Food Truck Fight is set for noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18 at a new location at the Isle Parkway, Bettendorf.
- Food trucks will be regular features at the Freight House Farmers Market, Davenport, which opened for the season on Saturday, May 7.
- Clinton has several food trucks parked along the riverfront during the warm weather months, according to the new Grow Clinton organization.
- City of Davenport officials report food trucks will be at the Riverpalooza event at Quinlan Court, 330 Brady St., at 7-9 p.m., Thursday, June 2.
- The “Be Downtown” event is set for 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 4 in the lot at 15th and State streets in downtown Bettendorf. Food trucks will be serving food from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Also, a new Food Truck Park has been established on 44th Street, between 4th and 5th avenues, in Rock Island. Trucks are expected to be at the park on weekends and many weekdays.
- That new Food Truck Park is becoming another popular place for food fans. Chavaras Trice of Rock Island bought the empty lot at the beginning of the year with the goal of establishing a permanent place where truck owners and operators could rent a space to park and do business.