Jaded critics put the brakes on food truck trend
Thursday 12 May 2011
You could call it the Korean taco that launched a thousand food trucks.
Credited with kickstarting the food truck craze, Roy Choi's Kogi BBQ, a roadside mobile restaurant that has been attracting mob-like crowds in Los Angeles every day since launching more than two years ago, started a trend that would spawn copycat trucks across the country.
But the pendulum has swung back with force. Now that gourmet food trucks have penetrated the mainstream public, the foodie elite in LA have declared the trend "so over."
The fact that franchise restaurants like Taco Bell, Jack in the Box and Sizzler have jumped on the bandwagon is also seen as the death knell for a trend that foodies had jealously guarded as their own little secret - a secret unlocked by nimble-thumbed social media users. Many food trucks advertise their rolling locations via Twitter.
If, as popular food blog Eater.com says "three makes a trend," then a recent spate of influential food writers talking smack on these "roach coaches" makes the honeymoon in Los Angeles officially over.
A story in last week's LA Times, for instance, questioned the direction of what started out as an underground food truck scene turned circus show filled with mediocre food served by money-grubbing caterers.
An article in Bon Appétit magazine also ran this week titled, "I'm Sick of Food Trucks", and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio also singled out the mobile restaurant as the worst trend right now, Eater pointed out.
But while foodies have written off the trend, it's penetrated the mainstream market with new shows like The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network.
Consumer dining guide Zagat is also hosting a Food Truck Frenzy next Wednesday in New York City, which will corral about 20 mobile eateries across the city for an afternoon lunch festival. Tickets are $15 and are available at http://zagatfoodtruckfrenzy.eventbrite.com.
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