The people of Little Rock turn out for events, y’all! I read somewhere that 45,000 people attended this years Main Street Food Truck Festival. That’s crazy! I haven’t confirmed that number, but I do know that there were a lot of people. My husband and I were two of the throngs meandering Main street as well as the side streets that the festival has now expanded to include.
NOTE: The Main Street Food Truck Festival is currently scheduled for October 2, 2021. Do check their website for potential changes.
Every year in late September food trucks roll into downtown Little Rock. This event is hosted by the downtown Little Rock partnership and the stated purpose of the Main Street Food Truck Festival is to revitalize Main Street.
It must be working because it wasn’t too many years ago that this was an area of boarded up buildings. It was the kind of street that you would be nervous to walk down in the evening.
Now it is full of life and stores and restaurants. Some of the permanent (non-food truck) restaurants are Soul Fish Cafe and Brewski’s pub. My personal favorite in the area is Three Fold Noodle and Dumplings. Then there is the venerable Little Rock favorite, Bruno’s Little Italy. There are many more restaurants on Main Street as well.
There is also now a technology park in this area anchored by the Blue Sail Coffee Roasters. You can also take in a show at the Arkansas Repertory Theater. So much happening on Main Street now and there is a completely different atmosphere than in the past. It is lively and well-lit and feels like a happening place.
The Main Street Food Truck Festival is just plain ol’ fun. They cordon off several blocks of Main Street in downtown Little Rock as well as adjoining sections of some of the side streets including Louisiana and Capitol. This year there were more than 80 trucks! Music and busking and a few craft vendors are also part of the fun.
Yes, it is crowded. And yes, you might have to wait in line for some of the popular food trucks. But it’s worth it. The flow of foot traffic has improved over the years as the festival has expanded to other streets and brought in more trucks. The trucks themselves seem to have gotten better at anticipating and preparing for the crowds.
But it’s all about the food, right? That’s what you are there for! Little Rock has a pretty good food truck scene on it’s own plus trucks come in from Memphis and other surrounding cities.
There seems to always be at least one truck each year that is on everybody’s radar, one that attracts huge crowds.
This year it was Cousins Maine Lobster. Cousins is a food truck chain. I didn’t even know those existed! Cousins has been all over the news including being featured on Shark Tank. One of the sharks, Barbara Corcoran, invested in their food truck business. It took off like wildfire from there. Cousins is now showing 28 locations on their website. The truck at the food truck festival arrived from one of their newest locations in Memphis. If you want to read more about their story check it out here. It’s pretty fascinating.
I hadn’t heard about Cousins, but apparently the rest of Little Rock had. The lines for this place were insane. I confess, we didn’t stand in line, but my daughter and her boyfriend did. He had watched the Shark Tank episode and was determined to have a lobster roll. It took them over 45 minutes to get their food and it wasn’t cheap! But…
Was it worth it? My daughter let me have a bite of her lobster roll and it was packed full of big, delicious, pieces of lobster and it was sweet and fresh and decadent. They thought it was totally worth it.
Although Cousins might have been the one that the people were clamoring to try there were so many other great trucks.
We tried the gouda mac and cheese at Say Cheese which was cheesy and smoky and yummy. We also had the chicken dumplings at Katmandu Momo, a curry at Banana Leaf, a smoothie/slushy/fruity drink somewhere…sorry, I didn’t write it down.
There was so much to try. Some of the trucks had a sampler you could purchase so that you get a smaller portion. I think it would be great if even more of the trucks had this as an option as I would suspect that most people who come to this event want to taste a variety of foods.
And believe me, there was a variety! You could choose from BBQ or tacos, ice cream or cheesecake, catfish or dumplings…it was a plethora of tough decisions. So much food, so little stomach space.
Pro Tip 1: Arrive early! Parking is easier. Crowds are lighter. And you can get in the lines for the most popular trucks before they become outrageous.
Pro Tip 2: Take a look at the Main Street Food Truck Festival website before you go and make a list of trucks you really want to try! It will help you to not get overwhelmed once you arrive.
Pro Tip 3: Share your food with a friend. It will enable you sample food from more trucks.
We will definitely attend the Main Street Food Truck Festival again next year.
I suggest that you add this event to your annual calendar as well!
Check out my post about another food centric (if we can call cheese dip a food) Little Rock event.
Thanks for stopping by,