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Annual Food Truck-A-Palooza has Best Year Yet

The third annual Food Truck-a-Palooza at the Monroeville
Convention Center brought in a record number of trucks and participants.

At
least 35 trucks and 3,000 people packed the venue at 209 Mall Blvd. on
Saturday.

It’s
presented by GoodTaste! Pittsburgh and Steel City Media.

GoodTaste!
Owner Dee Weinberg said it’s the largest indoor winter food truck festival in
Western Pennsylvania, and this year was its best one yet.

“Everybody
loves food, and what better place to try food trucks than all in one area?” Weinberg
said. “I think people are happy. The trucks are happy. The lines are long and
they have a place to sit and be entertained.”

There
were foods from Nakama, Revival Chili, South Side BBQ Company and Burgh Bites.
A complete list of trucks and event sponsors is available at goodtastepittsburgh.com/food-truck-a-palooza.

Derek
Widziszewski of Roscoe said he and his wife, Tawny, and a group of friends
enjoyed their experience at the festival.

“The
chili was excellent,” he said. “Our whole group makes sure we get something
different so we can sample everything. We pick what we like, but we pick off
everyone else’s plate. There was something for everybody.”

Theresa
Florian of Stockdale had a margarita chicken wrap from Speals on Wheels.

“I
was trying to stay away from junk and wanted something healthy with vegetables
and meat,” she said. “It was really good.”

Barbeque
was a very popular food option. Oakmont Barbeque Company sold out of its beef
brisket selections with hours left in the show. South Side BBQ Company
delivered its signature dish, the “Bar-be-Cone.”

The
Bar-be-Cone has mac and cheese, pulled pork, barbeque sauce and coleslaw
stuffed in a waffle cone.

This
year’s event offered much more than a gathering of trucks. Face painting, a
photo booth, various vendors with free food and drink samples, as well as live
entertainment such as musician Joel Lindsey were available in the backroom’s
large seating area.

Seating
was scarce and it was hard to move around at its second annual event because
the other room was not utilized.

“The
crowd was so large last year that we realized we needed bigger space,” Weinberg
said. “The Monroeville Convention Center has been very gracious (with its
space).”

Air
quality was a concern with all the food trucks under one roof.

Monroeville
Volunteer Fire Co. No. 6 members walked the site repeatedly with carbon
monoxide detectors, and enforced other safety measures such as limiting food
truck fuel usage to one 20-pound propane tank at a time.

“People
don’t realize how dangerous things could be,” deputy Chief Harold Katofsky
said. “We want to make sure the people here are safe and they don’t get sick.”

Katofsky
said some doors were open and fans were used to help circulate the air, and
members of the Allegheny County Health Department were on hand to inspect the
trucks before they served food.

Only
two trucks were prevented from being inside due to having 50-pound tanks, and
no air quality problems were detected, Katofsky said.

A
portion of the event’s proceeds went toward the fire department for its safety
efforts.

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