Although they're still catching on in the suburbs, Saturday's inaugural Food Truck Festival at Arlington Park showed there's plenty of local demand for the mobile culinary concept.
The sold-out event, which coincided with Million Preview Day and four major stakes races, featured long lines at all 10 food trucks parked on the eastern pavilion.
"We're foodies from Wheeling, and you don't get too many food trucks to come our way," said Sharon Aiello, who enjoyed a curry dish and some rosemary herb french fries with her husband, Andrew, on the eve of their anniversary.
Peggy Koziorowski of Antioch and Pam Koziorowski of Plainfield got the last two veggie "meatballs" before the Meatloaf Bakery truck ran out of food and closed up shop just an hour into the fest.
"I will say it is quite good," Peggy Koziorowski said.
Greg Barnhart, owner of the popular Toasty Cheese truck, pointed to the extra trailer he brought to make sure every hungry patron would get a taste.
The $25 festival ticket included admission to the park, two wine and beer tickets and five food samples. In addition to its regular menu, Toasty Cheese's sample dish was a traditional American and cheddar grilled cheese.
"A festival like this is great because it builds awareness for our truck," Barnhart said.
Barnhart and GiaVia Sweets pastry truck owner Carli Curatola, whose sample was lemon Italian ice, said social media also has helped their businesses take off. They both applauded the suburbs for welcoming their business on wheels, far different treatment than they've received in Chicago.
"Everyone needs to get on the same page there," Barnhart said. "They've loosened the rules, but the police still bother you. Everyone out here (in the suburbs) has been great."