On a sunny day, few things beat hanging out by the river with a cold beer and fried food.
Sacramento’s newest food truck festival capitalizes on that mentality with its picturesque River Walk Park location. You descend down the staircase and feast your eyes on the water, green grass, tall trees and, potentially, folks carrying around paper boats filled with nacho cheese-covered fries. Yum.
“With the river and the Tower Bridge, it’s iconic and unique to Sacramento,” says Sinead Kennedy, spokesperson for Off the Grid Sacramento, which debuted yesterday.
Off the Grid will inhabit River Walk Park every Sunday afternoon from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until October, with a rotating lineup of 10 food trucks and 10 vendors serving out of tents. There are bars serving local beer—Bike Dog Brewing and Sactown Union Brewing were the first to sign on—plus wine and craft cocktails. More amenities: a kids zone with activities, a deejay, plenty of shady areas for picnicking and, for folks fearful of crowds, cabanas that can be reserved for $75 and shaded picnic tables for $100.
Off the Grid operates about 60 food truck festivals every week, as far south as San Jose and, up until Sacramento, as far north as Santa Rosa. Kennedy says Off the Grid considers Sacramento to be its first real expansion outside the Bay Area.
“This is a big day for the Off the Grid,” she says.
And there will be more. Kennedy says Off the Grid plans to expand across Sacramento and into the suburbs, with eyes immediately on the city center and elsewhere in West Sacramento.
Local food trucks already participate in local events via SactoMoFo, but Gyro Stop chef/owner Ty Codar says Off the Grid’s arrival will make a huge impact.
“Vendors are very, very excited,” he says. “It means more than you can imagine: more options, more markets, a whole new opening.”
But the biggest difference between Off the Grid and other, similar event producers is that food truck owners sign six-month contracts with Off the Grid, guaranteeing consistent work.
“It provides us job security,” Codar says. “We can plan our lives.”
Anticipating the long lines that have become synonymous with food truck festivals, Off the Grid launched its partnership in a new app, Q Cutter, which lets you order specific items and pay through your phone and cut straight to the pickup window.
At the event on Sunday, attendees mostly seemed excited but some also expressed disappointment at the food truck lineup: they were expecting some of the Bay Area food trucks part of the greater Off the Grid fleet instead of the same ones that participate in SactoMofo and other local events. Kennedy says the decision falls in line with Off the Grid’s whole strategy, to treat Sacramento likes its own separate entity with its own local office, local employees and all-local vendors.