Thirty-four food trucks came. Thousands ate. Six bands played. Countless craft brews were served. And, one truck was crowned champion.
The 6th annual Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition took Veterans Park by storm Aug. 17. Greek Street Food Truck, of Miamisburg, Ohio, was selected the $10,000 grand prize winner by a group of local celebrity judges, which included Doug McGregor (chef and owner, Seasons Bistro and Grille), Micah Berner (owner, Cecil On Lime), Chris Oravec, (sous chef, Mela), Clayton Horrighs, (chef and owner, Speakeasy Raman) and Lisa Freeman (chef and owner, Le Torte Dolci), for their Seasoned Jumbo Shrimp dish. The judges tasted all the food trucks’ signature dishes and scored each dish based on numerous categories.
“It’s amazing (to win),” said Chris Spirtos, owner of Greek Street Food Truck. “This is why everybody comes here, to take home the top prize. This is hands-down the best competition we go to, and I’ll definitely be back to try again.”
Tortilla Street Food (Columbus, Ohio) with their Adobo Chicken Tamales and Creole 2 Geaux (Columbus, Ohio) with their Alligator Tacos were awarded the $5,000 runner-up prize and $2,000 third place prize, respectively. And for the second consecutive year, Fat Racks Smoking Co. (South Vienna, Ohio) took home the $1,000 People’s Choice Award, which was voted on by attendees through the event’s mobile app.
“This competition blows the others out of the water,” said Bryan Krugh from Fat Racks Smoking Co. “It’s a great event to be a part of and to have the people choose us again to be their favorite just tops it off. It’s an awesome feeling.”
With nine new food trucks and 25 returning competitors, attendees savored the variety of cuisine once again during Springfield’s “must-taste” event of the summer.
“When we tried this competition out as a fundraiser the first year, we had no idea it would blow up like it did,” said Eddie Bell, Rotary member and Food Truck Competition marketing committee chair. “Here we are, six years later, and it only continues to grow with each competition. We are so thankful that the Springfield community has responded so well to this event year after year and we’re able to provide local charities and organizations with significant support to help support their amazing efforts.”
Heather Luchowski, of Springfield, attended the event for the first time with family and friends who have been to multiple competitions. “We enjoy being able to camp out on the lawn, listen to the bands and try many different trucks. It’s a good family event and a fun place to be.”
In addition to the array of food trucks, six local bands and performers headlined the competition. Andy Fox, Tru Luv Band, Terrapin Moon, Omega Point, Red Idle Rejects and The Ark Band serenaded attendees as they chowed down on their street foods of choice.
The money raised from the sales of drinks and T-shirts, in addition to corporate sponsorships, benefit the many charitable causes of the Springfield Rotary Club, such as helping individuals with disabilities, and supporting international projects, such as Polio Plus and various projects in Lesotho, Africa.
Nikki Miller, mom of Leah and Elliette, shared that “having two daughters with Spinal Muscular Atrophy means their needs are many, but we have been so fortunate to have the Rotary Club to help with things in their lives that insurance does not cover. We are so thankful to have them as a resource and helping hand in our community.”
“Through the Rotary Club’s support and commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities, there are many positive and lasting changes, making our community and the world a better place for everyone,” said Scott Jones, of Developmental Disabilities of Clark County.
“Since the inaugural event in 2014, we’ve raised over $120,000 for our various charities, which has increased the number of people our club can serve by over 70 percent,” said Bell. “Most attendees don’t realize what a tremendous impact this event has on the local community and beyond.”
Planning for the 2020 Springfield Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition is already underway.