Food truck fans — or just fans of tacos, barbecue, gyros and more — can head to Benz Beverage Depot, 501 Seventh Ave. SE, this weekend for their inaugural Food Truck Festival.
Nineteen food trucks from around Iowa will converge on the liquor store from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We’re seeing more and more food trucks in Cedar Rapids. We thought it might be an opportunity to showcase some of the new ones and do something at Benz that would be a little bit more family friendly,” manager Matt Hamlin said.
Along with food trucks, there also will be a beer garden. Benz plans to use the parking lot as well as part of Seventh Avenue SE and Fifth Street SE adjacent to the store. The only concern?
“We got so much interest right off the bat, we’re hopeful the space is big enough,” he said.
He said the event is a welcome back, of sorts, for the store and the neighborhood after flood preparations closed much of downtown. Benz sandbagged and moved everything in the store up three feet — the height water reached in their store in 2008. With no basement, they did not take on any water this time, and Hamlin said he was impressed with how much the town came together.
“We had random people coming up and asking if they could help. It was fantastic,” he said.
As a thank you to the community, a portion of proceeds from the Food Truck Festival will be donated to Meals on Wheels. Attendees can make a $5 suggested donation at the gate and then will be able to purchase food from the trucks. Some trucks will serve the full portions they normally have, while others will have smaller portions to encourage people to try more vendors.
VIP tickets are on sale for $30 and include early access to the event, a beer punch card, free beer sampling, a $5 food card and a t-shirt. Tickets are available at crfoodtruckfest.com.
Here are the trucks that will be attending and a little bit about them:
► Rio Burritos: Mexican food, based in Cedar Rapids
► Caribbean Kitchen: Jamaican food, based in Cedar Rapids.
► Local Burrito: Mexican food, based in Iowa City
► Mahalo Dog: Hawaiian-style hot dogs, based in Cedar Rapids
► Karam’s Grill: Mediterranean food, based in Des Moines
► O’s Grill: Gyros, based in Cedar Rapids
► Bigg Daddy’s Dogs: Hot dogs and sandwiches, based in Cedar Rapids
► Baked.: Cupcakes, soups and sandwiches, based in Monticello
► BamBQ BBQ Company: Barbecue, based in Cedar Rapids
► Keepin’ Up With the Jones’s: Barbecue, based in Cedar Rapids
► QDog’s BBQ: Barbecue, based in Marion
► Tacos Don Diego: Mexican food, based in Coralville
► Plate of the Union: A political advocacy food truck touring the country
► Jay’s Water Ice: Frozen treats, based in Cedar Rapids
► Funnel Cakes, Etc.: State fair-style treats
► Flip N’ Chop: International street food, based in Coralville
► Kayella’s: Mexican food, based in Montour
► The Big Red Food Truck: Tacos and barbecue, based in Polk City
► The Grateful Crepe: Crepes, based in Cedar Rapids