Some of the most creative, healthy and just plain delicious foods in northern California are coming out of Watsonville. That is why this month all our lightning talks are from our local entrepreneurs in the food industry.
WATSONVILLE >> The success of Watsonville’s second Food Truck Block party was overwhelming as more than a thousand people swarmed the parking lot of the United Presbyterian Church looking for a savory meal.
People lined up to get in 30 minutes before the event began and each of the 10 trucks at the event drew long lines for most of the event.
“This is a total success but it’s a lot of people. It’s too successful,” said Watsonville Mayor Pro Tempore Felipe Hernandez, laughing at the notion.
The event is a follow to an food truck party in April that drew more than 400 people in a surprising success. With the second session, organizers added additional trucks to the original five that were at the first event.
Gabriel Huante, of Watsonville, attended with his wife and two kids. They hadn’t heard about the event but saw it as they were coming back from a trip to Salinas.
Though he added that the location of the event, in the parking lot of the United Presbyterian Church, was not ideal. He said he thought it should be featured near the city’s plaza off of Main Street, where crowds can bask on the greens and in the sun.
Though there was initial trepidation from city officials about the success of the first event, the Facebook event garnered hundreds of people after it was created. There are talks about the event becoming a regular occurrence for the city, happening once a month.
But more than provide a place for dinner, city officials aim to change the reputation of the city.
“I think everybody knows there’s a narrative when they refer to Watsonville. That there’s gangs. It’s overcrowded with Latinos. It’s a negative stereotype,” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to change that.”
As the afternoon turned to evening, the crowds refused to die down and each truck had a line.
Mike Kelly, of Soquel, was standing in line for the Ate3one food truck while his wife and two kids were checking out the other selections. Kelly said the family came in part because of the broad selection of food and the outdoor nature of the event.
“It’s nice when you have kids this age. You don’t have to worry about them going nuts in a restaurant,” he said as his kids ran around his legs.
Of the food available at the Ate3one truck, which featured french fries and sandwiches, Kelly wanted to try out the fish nachos.
“They seem to have the best offerings, but we’ll see what they got when we get to the front,” he said.
Kelly compared the event to events he’s seen in Austin, Texas, where food truck culture and events are rampant.
“It’s nice to see the food-truck culture come out here,” he said.