Sitting in your downtown apartment, you suddenly hear the muffled noises of live music. Poking your head out the window, a wall of smoky flavor hits you right in the face and your mouth begins to water. Time to investigate. You find yourself practically floating towards the waves tingling your senses.
You turn the corner… how could you forget?
Back for its seventh year, the Columbus Food Truck Festival (CFTF) is once again serving up a diverse selection of culinary genius with returning and new trucks. In honor of the affair, we have gathered a selection of a few new favorites participating and learned what makes them worthy. So grab a bib and get ready for brunch, lunch, and dinner—all on the go.
Chicky Chicky Waffle
Glynis Armentrout and her husband Tyler wanted to make the plunge into the food truck industry in 2015. Contemplating whether to buy a hunk of broken-down metal, the Armentrout had a craftier idea. Pushing up his sleeves and setting up shop in their Grove City driveway, Tyler created a completely customized food truck, righteous of serving up some unique-styled chicken.
“Tyler came up with each concept and figured out how to most efficiently turn it into a successful food truck,” said Glynis. “The food is amazing and the truck is just fun to work on.”
We agree on the amazing part. The duo has created a concept any omnivore would worship—seasoned chicken tenders dunked in waffle batter and deep fried. If you’ve ever struggled walking while eating this classic Southern combo, now there is a local solution.
“No matter what other dish we add to the menu, our signature waffle-battered chicken is the most popular,” said Glynis. “When people see the truck, that’s what they want to try.”
Oh, and did we mention the Armentrouts have another food truck specifically dedicated to ice cream? Thankfully, both food mobiles will be present at the CFTF, so order some of Chicky’s corn on the cob for an appetizer, and you have a three course meal.
“We hope the unique, fun design of the truck draws people to us, our speed of service impresses them, and our food quality amazes them,” said Glynis. “Now we get to prove ourselves worthy.”
When Chandra Winardi came to Columbus a few years ago he had a vision. Originally from Indonesia, he has always had a fascination with Korean culture, especially their cuisine. Since he had been working in the restaurant business for quite some time and knew the food truck scene was booming in Columbus, Winardi started up his own idea—teaching himself to cook Korean food.
Cupzilla has been rolling throughout Columbus since early 2015, serving up cups full of handmade Korean-style barbecue like chicken, beef, pork, and tofu. And be prepared to feel the monstrous heat—kick it up with spice levels ranging from one to five. We can’t really fathom how eye-watering five could be, but we’re assuming you’ll need a gallon of milk to wash it down. We love every fiery bite though, and for the third year in a row, Cupzilla will be making a welcoming appearance at the CFTF.
“This was my first event when I first opened the truck,” said Winardi. “I love the food truck festival because people love my food so much.”
The Cunninghams have had quite the career adventure. Originally in the field of DJ-ing and owning a fun ice cream shop in northern Ohio, the couple began to dream about joining the food truck scene in our lovely hometown. So they sold their brick and mortar (shop and house) and made the move to good ol’ Columbus, hitting the streets with PhillyBuster in spring of 2015.
“It was a pretty easy decision to make after seeing what was going on with the food scene [here],” said co-owner David Cunningham.
It all paid off, though. Today, the happy couple can be seen driving around with probably one of the largest menus in food truck history. Five sandwiches, seven sides, nine flavors of ice cream, shakes, malts, and floats—you’ll be questioning how they fit it all into a 16-foot box on wheels.
David recommends chowing down on their famous 14-hour cooked Brisket PhillyBuster, with a dish of the family-recipe potato salad, and really any dessert.
“We’ve got the variety,” said David. “You can wear out the love for somebody else’s truck pretty quick, but it takes a long time to get through our menu.”
Thank goodness the CFTF is two days long. And with the new location at Bicentennial Park and the Scioto Mile, the Cunninghams said they are thrilled to pit stop at the festival for their third year in a row.
“I think this is really going to be a great event with the new location,” said David. “We love the friendliness of the food truck community, it’s like ‘co-op-etition.’ But really, it’s all about fresh-made food for us.”
Growing up in Venezuela, Rafael Simo would watch as his grandfather and father bustled through life running hotels and restaurants where delicious, authentic food was served. Learning the art of cooking, and taking time to do a little soul searching, Simo eventually realized who he was and what he had to accomplish.
“I realized this is who I am—I am a cook.” he said. “There are a lot of food trucks out here in Columbus, and I didn’t want to do something like everyone else was doing; I just wanted to do something different.”
Making its big debut this past spring, Sobremesa is an environmentally conscious, totally vegan, Latin-infused concept. The Spanish-named truck, which translates roughly into the sensation of hanging out with friends and family post-meal and chatting, holds truth with Simo’s mission to help create conversation amongst those sharing the dishes he prepares from scratch.
“I grew up […] with every conversation, every gathering centered around food,” said Simo. “Sombremesa has some killer flavors, it’s something that is very unique… and so conversation kind of flows naturally.”
With something this tasty, of course we’re going to chat about it with our fellow food truck gurus. Sobremesa offers beautifully decorated meals like the grilled avocado salad, marinated jerk tofu bowl, and tomato sopa.
Simo is a rookie though, so this will be his first year attending the CFTF. But confidence overcomes his worries of success.
“Hopefully, we expect to be busy, so that will be awesome,” said Simo. “People will get to see that plant-based meals are tasty and filling, and you just feel good about eating them.”