By Foster Nicholas | Reporter
Thirty-four food trucks, four refreshment stands, a petting zoo, 16 vendors and five bands gathered in Waco for The Texas Food Truck Showdown on Saturday. Out of the 34 trucks that sold their signature dishes, only six walked away with an award for some of the best street food in Texas.
“There was so much good food here today. I haven’t ever been before but I really enjoyed myself here today,” Waco native Walter Dunne said. “It was also amazing how many people were here to help make sure the event flowed well.”
Along with event staff, over 300 people volunteered at the event by helping with trash, road blocks and food truck vendors. There were also four guest judges who helped decide the winners in each category, including owner of Lily’s Cake Lilian Halibi, Waco Mayor Dylan Meek, former food critic and writer for Wacoan Abby Tankersley and community liaison for H-E-B Rhonda Featherston.
The categories judged were best international dish, best between buns, best dessert, best southern style, people’s choice and champion. Local Waco food truck Bahler Street won best international dish with its signature James and the Giant Peach pizza.
“My favorite was definitely the peach pizza. I’ve never tried something like it before. It was both sweet and savory; I will for sure try to get more,” Waco native Joseph Riley said.
The best between buns award went to Lewisville food truck Street Bites with its signature Texas cheesesteak. Best dessert was won by Fort Worth food truck Doughnut Snob, which showcased its signature maple bacon doughnut. However, a surprising story came from the best southern style award that went to Heny’s Fly Chicken. The truck opened in January and within less than two months of opening already has two awards for its signature chicken and waffles.
“I’m shocked. The fact that they were able to make something this good and to have just started a couple months ago is insane,” Dallas food fanatic Susan Walsh said. “That was one of the best chicken platters I’ve ever had.”
The people’s choice award was decided by how many sales were done by the time the awards were announced. The winner of this was Nico’s of Texas with its cheesecakes. However, the people’s choice award wasn’t the only dessert truck to win a major award, as the champion of The Texas Food Truck Showdown was Waco truck Gelü Italian Ice. Gelü has been at several Baylor-sponsored events and can be found around Waco on many hot summer weekends.
While the event was deemed a massive success, the Waco community also received a big win because a truck in Waco won best overall. This is certainly just the beginning of a great run in the future for The Texas Food Truck Showdown.