Asheville’s most popular food trucks have become, ironically, culinary destinations of their own. In fact, the hunt for dinner — Where do you think El Kimchi is parked tonight?! — often seems as innately satisfying as the food itself.
But Ashevilleans won’t have to look far for their favorites on Saturday, March 14, when more than a dozen of the mobile eateries will gather downtown for the second Food Truck Showdown.
“The Asheville Food Truck Showdown is a celebration of innovative cuisine in a very friendly setting that benefits some of the amazing nonprofits in the Asheville area,” says event organizer JR Yarnall. “It’s a fun way to help our community, relax and enjoy great food and music, and there are puppies and face painting for the kids!”
Patrons are encouraged to bring pet food, kitty litter and pet toys in exchange for free on-site snuggles with Asheville Humane Society animals. Plus, DJ TJ will provide musical accompaniment to face painting by Asheville Face and Body Art throughout the day.
More than 1,500 people attended the outdoor event in its inaugural year, and organizers hope to achieve another great mix of residents for round two.
“The vibe last year was really laid back and fun,” says Yarnall, “with upbeat music from the DJ and plenty of people supporting the nonprofits and petting the puppies. All in all, it was the kind of event with huge crowds of smiling people eating great food – plenty of laughs, very family friendly and lots of hipster tattooers all coming together.”
Root Down won the “Best Truck in Asheville” title last year, beating Farm to Fender by a single point. But Yarnall says the runner up is “bringing its A-game” to this year’s convention, along with competitors like Gypsy Queen, Pho Ya Belly, El Kimchi, Latino Heat, Acropolis Pizza, Smash Box, Yellow Submarine, Twisted Root and more.
For 2015, however, two winners will be crowned – one determined by a panel of judges and the other based on popular vote. The system isn’t exactly democratic in that ballots must be purchased, but all funds from the voting drive (plus fees from beer wristbands and parking) benefit the Asheville Humane Society, Montford Park Players and the Asheville Masonic Temple.
“The charities are really at the heart of this for us,” says Yarnall.
The Food Truck Showdown, presented by Asheville Tattoo and Arts Expo, Pinups and Pitbulls, Yelp, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Sailor Jerry, takes place at the Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St., Saturday, March 14, from noon until 8 p.m., with parking at Home Trust Bank, 10 Woodfin St.. Admission is free, and food will be individually priced.