In photos: Asheville Food Truck Showdown spawns three-peat

FOOD ON THE MOVE: Appalachian Chic was one of 15 local food vendors to compete in Saturday's third annual Asheville Food Truck Showdown. The event kept truck owners hopping with business throughout the afternoon. Photo by Dan Hesse

The third annual Asheville Food Truck Showdown took over the parking lot adjacent to downtown Asheville’s Masonic Temple on Saturday, April 2. Fifteen food trucks lined up around the perimeter, while throngs of people circled the variety of food on display. From Amazing Pizza Co.’s wood fired pizza to deep fried boudin balls from Vieux Carre Cajun and Creole Cuisine, the city’s diverse and thriving mobile food scene was on full display.

Real Food Truck co-owner Sarah Burrows says she was slammed all day. “We wish there were more events like this in Asheville,” she says, adding that despite the long lines, everyone was in a good mood. She notes that the event is a great way for food trucks to gain exposure.

Matthew Bambarger, owner of Vieux Carre, says the pace was crazy, and his truck served upward of 100 people an hour over the course of the afternoon. “This event is properly marketed. There’s plenty of press, and everyone knows we’re here,” he says. “They do a great job of getting the word out. We should do this every weekend.” Bambarger echoes the sentiment that the exposure is amazing, noting that normally his food truck’s location is only known by those who engage with him on social media.

In addition to serving loyal and new customers, the 15 trucks were vying for two overall best food truck awards — one determined by a panel of judges and the other as voted on by attendees. This year’s panel of judges included WLOS anchor Larry Blunt, Curate and Nightbell owner Katie Button and local food critic Stu Helm. The panel gave Root Down its third consecutive victory. Meanwhile, the people’s choice echoed the judges’ decision also selecting Root Down for first place.

Following are the full rankings for Best Food Truck in Asheville as determined by the judges and attendees:

Judges’ choice:
First — Root Down
Second — Smash Box
Third — Gypsy Queen Cuisine
Fourth — Latino Heat
Fifth — Vieux Carre Cajun and Creole Cuisine

Fan favorites:
First — Root Down
Second — Out of the Blue Peruvian Fusion Cuisine
Third — Farm to Fender
Fourth — Vitamina T
Fifth — Smash Box

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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