Street Food Fest Redux

L.A. Street Food Fest Tests A New Model

Scenes from Street Food Fest
Scenes from Street Food Fest Photo: Hadley Tomicki

Last winter, Street Food Fest founder Shana Dawson promised L.A. a fair representation of its street food culture, which ended up being a round-up of contemporary food trucks, with one or two traditional taco trucks tucked in the corner. That isn’t stopping The Atlantic from writing that the torturous event of oh-so-many endless lines “showcased the best in Los Angeles’s ever-growing assortment of street food” including “classic lonchero taco trucks.” The writer surely ties The Huffington Post’s Mike “Brick-And-Mortar Restaurants Are Over” Miley for most out-of-touch food truck-trend post-of-the-day. Nonetheless, L.A Street Food Fest is back, with safety measures to ensure this Sunday’s celebration at the Rose Bowl goes more smoothly. What’s in store?

Rather than allow 20,000 people to turn it into a total clusterhump, the organizers are only allowing ticket sales to 600 people, which should allow those without the patience of a sniper or a bottle stamped SPF 3000 to taste actual food this time. Now the chefs are bailing their rides to occupy fixed stands, 60 of which guests can sample freely once they’ve pre-purchased a ticket. Vendors will include the trendy truckers, along with Tamales Elena from Watts and more established chefs like Fred Eric following Ludo’s lead.

Sonja Rasula, co-founder of the fest and founder of Unique L.A., the craft market that was the highlight of the last festival, does a little trend-casting, weighing in on the economics of the street food scene that exploded in the last year. She says the event is intended to explore the financial boon that street food has become to chefs, as well as its low-cost and mobility, which might mirror such trends as online shopping and tucking your desk into a laptop. Rasula says, “The food truck movement, yes, of course is about the food…But taking a second look, it’s about the fact that small business owners have thought outside the box and realized that there’s an opportunity.”

It’s an opportunity Rasula and Dawson clearly picked up on early and ran with. Let’s hope their efforts this Sunday find the approach improved.

The Food truck Economy [The Atlantic]

L.A. Street Food Fest Tests A New Model