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Food Truck Round-Up attracts large, hungry crowd

The inaugural Food Truck Round-Up in downtown Madison attracted a throng of jovial diners on April 1. RECORD PHOTOS/JEN DETULLEO, JFD DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY
The inaugural Food Truck Round-Up in downtown Madison attracted a throng of jovial diners on April 1. RECORD PHOTOS/JEN DETULLEO, JFD DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY

MADISON – They were hungry. They were patient. And they seemed to have glad-it’s-finally-here attitudes at the launch of the Food Truck Round-Up in downtown Madison.

Sponsored by Old Black Bear, the round-up attracted an estimated crowd of 1,000 at any point during earlier hours of the evening on April 1. Trucks set up in Old Black Bear Brewery’s back property adjoining Martin Street, along with a lot just west of the pedestrian alley.

Young families were the prominent demographic at the event, with many toddlers walking hand-in-hand with mom or dad. Pushing her baby in a stroller, one young mom was so fervent to get a place in line that she mowed down a mound of monkey grass in Old Black Bear’s landscaping.

Cells in hand, young married couples convened with each other after their respective days at work. Baby boomers and ‘seniors’ also endorsed the concept and bought the tasty food. Toddlers and grandparents competed in games on bocce ball courts.

“The round-up was wonderful. It brought back the feeling that the original street festivals had,” longtime Madisonian Jill Stallcup said. “Every generation was there. People had a great time visiting, eating and playing the games offered at Old Black Bear.”

Stallcup visited with people her family has known 25-plus years but hadn’t seen recently.

Stallcup said people kept asking the same question: “What took Madison so long to have a food truck rally?” She believes a monthly round-up is a great idea. “It was fun to see people sharing a bite of their food with others. They got a chance to sample several different items.”

“Events like this are what people are looking for … family-friendly and relaxed. Several people mentioned they would love to see the trucks available on a rotation for Madison Gazebo Concerts as well,” Stallcup said.

At Doctor BBQ’s truck, the pineapple-habanero glazed pulled pork was selling briskly. A long, serpentine line wrapped to the Fire & Spice’s menu to order a Santa Fe chicken taco with roasted corn salsa and poblano peppers or the Russian Roulette, an order including three tacos with choice of meat and one loaded with sliced habanero.

For those people with a ‘sweet tooth,’ Sugar Belle offered their specialty cupcakes and other pastries. Brain Freeze sold their ice cream and ‘cool treats,’ a welcome chill-down after spicy entrees from other vendors.

Rollin Lobstah and I Love Bacon were popular stops. Both eateries had long lines of anxious diners.

The Food Truck Round-Ups are scheduled monthly on first Fridays at 5 p.m. Old Black Bear’s address is 212 Main Street, with patio seating in their ‘back yard’ off Martin Street.

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