July temperatures in South Dakota can spike well over 90 degrees, and last Friday was no exception. But the humid air didn’t stop a friend and I from adventuring out to Main Street to sample a variety of food from some of Sioux Falls’ premier food trucks. (Even if we did end the outing by eating our ice cream from the comfort of an air-conditioned car).
Operations coordinator for The Bakery, Thad Giedd, said from the beginning Food Truck Friday has been about bringing people together.
“Food Truck Friday isn’t fancy or crazy, but it is a simple, easy, and fun way that lets people take a break from their work and busy lives to celebrate Sioux Falls and have a good time,” he said. “People seem to enjoy it and so do we.”
Our night began with a stop at local food truck favorite Hunny & Bunny, a little white truck with big restaurant dreams.
Owned by Melissa Hamed, Hunny & Bunny specializes in serving up fresh-made shawarmas, a traditional Mediterranean snack similar to a Greek gyro. Packed with flavor, the chicken shawarma came with a hearty helping of fresh cut fries, the ideal on-the-go summer meal.
Hamed said she started Hunny & Bunny to fill the need for traditional Mediterranean food in the city.
“There’s no place like this in town,” she said. “Friends and family were always enjoying our food and so I thought it would be a good idea to bring it to the rest of the Sioux Falls community.”
The Hunny & Bunny food truck was at The Bakery’s first food truck event, and they’ve been a staple ever since, attending other food truck gatherings around Sioux Falls while catering on the side. But someday soon Hamed said she hopes to open up a store not on wheels.
“We do plan on opening a brick and mortar store,” she said. “Hopefully sometime soon. We’re just looking for the perfect spot.”
The second stop of the night featured a trio of chicken tacos accompanied by a blend of cilantro and onions. Though the tacos satisfied my growling stomach, they lacked flavor in the sauce department, ending up dry and boring after the initial bites. Still, the chicken was grilled to perfection and the tortillas were soft and floury to boot.
Walking around The Bakery’s parking lot packed with trucks, tents and free samples, we passed by a lot of stands that caught our attention. One was Big Rig BBQ.
A Sioux Falls go-to, Big Rig BBQ has been operating for about a year and a half under the care of owner Bob Brenner. What makes this food truck different though is that it can usually be found parked on Louise Avenue, instead of solely popping up at food truck outings. Brenner said he started taking his business on the road to events like Food Truck Friday to get the Big Rig’s name out there and serve up more of his classic barbecue.
“We smoke everything fresh and it’s pretty much consistent every day,” he said. “We want to get our good food out to more people by going to things like Food Truck Friday. You meet some really good people, and that’s the main reason we do these types of events.”
That community spirit is also what drives Heart of the City Bakery owner April Smith to do what she does—own a food truck that specializes in health-conscious, natural treats.
After working in natural foods for 15 years, Smith decided to give back to the community by providing sweets for what she calls “the outside 20 percent,” individuals with allergies or those who, for health reasons, can’t eat desserts with dairy or gluten.
“A lot of people with allergies don’t go to things like Food Truck Friday because there’s nothing they can eat here,” she said. “We want to give that kid with a gluten allergy an option for a treat, or that pregnant woman who can’t have dairy something for dessert.”
I got to sample some of Heart of the City Bakery’s trail mix, and I have to tell you, it was pretty dang good. I’m only wishing I had gone back to get more.
Smith, Hamed and Brenner alike agreed that though food is what got them into the food truck business, it’s the Sioux Falls community that will keep them coming back to Food Truck Friday.
“It’s all about community,” Smith said. “The community between the people who come here to eat and have a good time, and the community between the food trucks themselves. We’re always recommending each other to customers. If someone’s looking for barbecue I point them in the right direction, and someone else will recommend my truck for dessert. We take care of each other here.”
Heat aside, this was one Friday night filled with good food, good friends and a show of community support.
Oh, and that ice cream? A perfect pairing of strawberry and vanilla from SDSU’s famous ice cream truck. Just don’t tell anyone I ate it in the car.
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