Goodwin Chen would likely have never come to Evanston’s south side if it hadn’t been for the food trucks.
He lives in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, works in downtown Evanston, and yet there he was, meeting friends and enjoying a few tacos at the event held Thursday evening at Brummel Park near the intersection of Brummel Street and Elmwood Avenue.
“It was delicious,” Chen said. “It felt pretty up to restaurant quality. If they stop by my building where I work, I’ll definitely come out and have my lunch there.”
Ald. Ann Rainey (8th Ward) said the purpose of the event was to draw people like Chen, individuals who may live or work in or around Evanston, into a side of the city they may have not seen before.
“I’ve talked to numerous people tonight who have said, ‘what is this?’ Meaning, what is this park? What is this neighborhood?’” said Rainey, who enjoyed some fries and tamales. “And I tell them, ‘this is Brummel Park, this is South Evanston, this is the great 8th Ward.’…We are having this event to bring attention to a great neighborhood.”
Four food trucks showed to feed the hungry droves.
As expected, Evanston's truck, HummingBird Kitchen, was there serving a grass-fed burger, a BBQ chicken sandwich and Italian fries.
Another truck, Taquero Fusion, shelled out tacos which blended Latin American flavors, an idea born after the owner’s Mexican friend married a Puerto Rican girl, resulting in some interesting concoctions at family gatherings. Thursday, the truck served a special BBQ pork taco alongside its standard season steak, Puerto Rican style chicken and veggie offerings.
Tamalli Space Charros, Chicago Magazine’s 2011 pick for best Chicago food truck, sold six varieties of tamales, ranging from roasted beets to flank steak, all served in a space ship themed truck by co-owners disguised in Mexican wrestling masks.
And the Sweet Ride truck, which advertises itself as Chicago’s mobile bakery, offered desert to the crowd, serving four kinds of cupcakes, sugar cookie and banana pudding.
HummingBird Kitchen was the only truck to be cooking on board, as it was the only Evanston-based food truck in attendance. The license for on-board preparation is granted by the municipality the food truck operates from, and while , such preparation is still illegal for Chicago-based trucks.
Taquero Fusion and Tamalli Space Charros both cook ahead of time from the same rented kitchen in Chicago.
Tamalli Space Charros co-founder Manny Hernandez said it was the first time he has brought his truck up to Evanston, but that the way his tamales were selling, he would be excited to come back soon.
“It’s overwhelming,” Hernandez said. “We’re going to be out [of food] soon…We’ll be back to Evanston.”
Expo ’76, a Chicago-based band, played at the festival, as well, covering a diverse list of oldies.
Evanston was host to at Grey Park at the intersection of Main Street and Ridge Avenue.