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Six reasons to feast at Royal Palm Beach's Last Friday Food Truck Invasion

Lined up and ready for the invasion
Lined up and ready for the invasion
Nancy Munro

Royal Palm Beach has good and bad news with its Last Friday Food Truck Invasion.

The good news: it's a perfect venue for many reasons.

The bad news: it's only once a month. But at least you have time to plan for the next one.

Food trucks got a relatively late start in Palm Beach County, and for several years, most of the trucks came up from Miami-Dade and Broward, and faced sparse attendance from the public and opposition from both county and city leaders and brick-and-mortar restaurant owners. But things are changing: the 561 area code is seen on more trucks, the variety of food offered is expanding and with the coming of tourist season and cooler weather, food truck events will increase in number.

The city of Royal Palm Beach is doing the event right, and here's why you should attend the next one (Sept. 26, 5-9 p.m. at Commons Park, 11600 Poinciana Blvd., Royal Palm Beach):

  1. There are 20 to 30 trucks, offering everything from whole pizzas and ceviche to low-and-slow BBQ pork and vegan burgers.
  2. Many of the truck operators now call this a living, offering private catering as well as doing the food truck events.
  3. The Great Lawn is big: the truck noise isn't an issue, kids and dogs can run around and there's space for chairs and blankets.
  4. If the kids get tired of the lawn, there are two playgrounds nearby, plus a water plaza in front of the community center.
  5. Bring walking shoes, bikes and a volleyball: you can use the paths and the soft-sand volleyball court for free.
  6. Parking is plentiful and free.

It's Labor Day weekend. If you go to this event in September, or any other food truck event, show some love for the labor of the locals and buy their food. Sure, you can bring your own eats in a cooler to enjoy as you listen to the music, and there's nothing wrong with doing that to save money. But food trucking is hard, hot work, and it's done for passion first, not money. So pick a truck, walk up to the window, say hello, find out what's good today, order and enjoy.

For other Food Truck Invasion events in South Florida, check out their web page.

For events from Gourmet Truck Expo, check out the schedule on their new web page.

Lined up and ready for the invasion
Lined up and ready for the invasion Nancy Munro

Lined up and ready for the invasion

Food trucks ready and waiting for folks to arrive at Commons Park. The Great Lawn has plenty of space for trucks and people. It's intimate enough to sit and listen to music on stage, yet large enough to let the kids run around.

Making pizza just for you
Making pizza just for you Nancy Munro

Making pizza just for you

By the slice, by the pie or for a private party...this young man just looks interested in pizza, period. Most of the trucks offer private catering.

Best use of tostones ever!
Best use of tostones ever! Nancy Munro

Best use of tostones ever!

From World Fusion's truck: tostones with ropa vieja and yellow rice. A bit of a wait for this basket, but worth it. Fried food with slow-roasted meat on top, plus excellent rice!

The grill rides shotgun
The grill rides shotgun Nancy Munro

The grill rides shotgun

A Weber with a view: DR Smokehouse means business when it comes to BBQ. You can smell the meat before you see it, and you know everything is fresh.

Whatever sweet suits your fancy
Whatever sweet suits your fancy Nancy Munro

Whatever sweet suits your fancy

How can you look at a list like this and not want one of these right now? The flavors are innovative and varied; bring a bunch of friends, everyone order a different one and share.