FRESH OFF the heels of a new City food truck ordinance, the Savannah Food Truck Festival is ready for round two.
On October 9, thirty food trucks will corral in Daffin Park to show Savannah their stuff. There will also be craft vendors, free yoga, live music, and plenty of beer, and all the proceeds benefit Dwaine and Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah.
The first festival, held in June, was a trial run of sorts, explains Savannah Food Truck Association president Ryan Giannoni.
“The first was done on limited budget, no staff, and no sponsors,” he says. “We learned that simplified menus and more trucks will help with the lines.”
Complaints about wait times and gigantic lines dogged the first festival, but Giannoni urges that lines are to be expected since the food trucks cook each meal to order.
“There is no way to speed up cooking times of food without sacrificing quality,” Giannoni says. “And if that many people went to any restaurant or even fast food place at once, there would be the same wait time.”
The food trucks appearing Sunday include some restaurants offering their fare on the go, like Bruster’s and Mellow Mushroom, alongside truck-only establishments like Chazito’s and Dark Shark.
The festival is an important event for the association since it brings attention to their mission and why food trucks are important assets to the community.
“The Savannah Food Truck Association is dedicated to giving back and providing a light for all of the hard work being done behind the scenes,” explains board member Jared Jackson.
“Everyone needs and loves food. Using a vehicle of change such as street food brings an element of culture to pieces of our city that are not always thought of or accounted for,” continues Jackson, who is currently raising funds for his own food truck to get on the road.
“Food trucks can help local businesses who need foot traffic in their locations and events. Food trucks will bring another element to the city, which will allow entrepreneurs to have more opportunities to do what they love.”
“Food deserts are a big issue here in Savannah that food trucks will be able to solve,” echoes Giannoni.
Food truck culture has certainly come a long way in Savannah, as Giannoni notes.
“A few years ago, there was only one food truck in town, and I finally got city approval to hold the first mini festival that took 51 weeks to get approved,” he notes. “For the other trucks, we had to pull them from surrounding areas.”
That’s when the Savannah Food Truck Association was formed, and they began working to grow the food truck industry in Savannah.
“[Food trucks] help level the playing field for the talented and driven chef who can’t afford that brick and mortar location quite yet,” Giannoni says. “Food trucks offer a performance-driven career opportunity with a fair chance at establishing themselves in the food industry of Savannah.”