On Sunday, May 27 at Monmouth Park Racetrack, several hardened veterans of the food truck industry battled it out to become the winner of the first annual Jersey Shore Food Truck Wars.
The food trucks and hungry customers came from far and wide. On a beautiful day, over 20,000 people descended on Monmouth Park to devour the offerings. Everything from traditional boardwalk fare to authentic Belgian waffles was for sale. Jersey Bites’ own Deb Smith served as one of the judges along with the Star Ledger’s, Pete Genovese, and some of his Munch Mobile alums, Grace M. Hanlon, Executive Director of NJ’s Division of Travel & Tourism and Michele McBride, Morning Host and News and Public Affairs Director at Brookdale Public Radio. “This was one of the tougher competitions I’ve judged.” commented Smith after the tasting and voting was over. “We’re not comparing apples with apples like in the Crabcake Competition or Barbecue Cookoff for instance. It made picking winners very difficult.”
When all the eating was done and votes tallied, Red Hook Lobster Pound was the big winner. Their Maine-style lobster roll made with lobster “trucked” in from Maine and a lemon-mayo dressing wowed the judges. Wafles & Dinges from New York, (the Belgian waffle truck) won for Best Truck and Cutting Edge Cuisine. This was my own personal favorite – creamy vanilla ice cream sandwiched between crisp waffles, brought back memories of old-time waffle stands on the Jersey boardwalk.
Dellano’s Food Service (Long Valley, NJ) walked away with the Absolute Classic Award for its sausage, onion, and pepper sandwich while Gozen Yogurt (Philly) won Most Seductive Sweet. Lil Dan’s also from Philadelphia took the Dazzling Presentation prize with their Pauly sandwich pictured above; slow roasted pork piled with roasted peppers and broccoli rabe and finished off with two eggs, sunny side up.
Other entries included The Taco Truck from Jersey City, Aroy-D (Thai) from Montclair, Rickshaw Dumplings from NYC, and Home by the Range, also from Jersey City. More traditional food truck items included the tried and true hot dog, supplied by the well-known Max’s Famous Hot Dogs of Long Branch, and Pudgy’s Street Food from Raritan.
The event was organized by Pete Genovese of Munch Mobile fame, in coordination with The Star-Ledger and Spark Market Solutions.
With any new endeavor there are always some kinks to work out but the first installment of the Jersey Shore Food Truck Wars was a good start. I overheard a few aspiring food truck entrepreneurs expressing interest in competing next year, so here are some words of advice to the 2012 winners, sharpen your knives there just might be some new competition in 2013.
Look for more pictures of the Food Truck Wars on our Facebook page.
Terry Krongold is a life-long passionate baker. In addition to a full-time job in the pharmaceutical industry, Terry has been involved with food for many years, including co-ownership of a dessert catering company in the late eighties called I Love Cheesecake, specializing in fine cheesecake and unique desserts. Terry is the author of The Cook’s Tour, a blog focused on food, baking, and travel. When not working, writing, or baking, she spends time planning vacations around restaurants to visit. She can be reached at email@example.com.