Food Truck Bazaars Keep On Rolling

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It’s been 10 months since Orlando’s first gathering of food trucks. When Mark Baratelli first organized’s Food Truck Bazaar in a small church parking lot south of downtown, no one knew how this phenomenon would be accepted.


It turned out that the parking lot was way too small for the throngs of people who showed up. Orlando had officially grabbed on to the food truck trend, and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of them letting go of it any time soon.


There are now other food truck gatherings, some weekly, and some that gather for an occasion, such as was the case at a Saturday pottery event in Loch Haven Park, where three trucks pulled up to feed the attendees. Baratelli’s Bazaars have become more frequent, too, and he moves them around to give other areas of Central Florida a chance to see -- and taste -- what all the fuss is about. Saturday, he’ll sponsor a Food truck Bazaar at the CrossPointe Church in Lake Nona, 11002 Lake Hart Drive, Orlando, an area of town that is literally hungry for good food. Then on Sunday, the trucks will roll into the east lot of Orlando Fashion Square Mall, 3201 E. Colonial Drive. Both events are from 5 to 9 p.m.


Baratelli says he has no intention of trying to make the Food Truck Bazaars anything more than what they were first intended to be: “friends and family eating together outdoors from local food trucks in an unexpected and often under-utilized urban space.”


“I won't change the event by adding bounce houses, clowns, alcohol or music,” Baratelli tells me, “because I strongly feel... that the simplicity of the event (food trucks in a parking lot) is enough for a monthly community event.”


He says that people who attend the bazaars enjoy the picnic nature of the event. “People eat together in circles of chairs, around plastic tables or sitting on curbs with their plate on their laps. Also, I like that it doesn't take place in an expected location like a public park; it utilizes an otherwise unused urban space and turns it into something fun.”


If you still haven’t experienced Food Truck Bazaar, come out this weekend to check it out. Bring a chair to sit on if you like. Be prepared to stand in line, because that’s what people do at these things -- they say it’s worth it for the good food they’ll be handed through the side of the truck.


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