TNT Diner

Mobile Food Fest is Saturday at Sprinker Recreation Center

Vietnom Nom co-owners Andy Huynh, right, and Chris Wetzler were thumbs up after selling out during the first-ever food truck rally on Market Street in Tacoma on May 1. Vietnom Nom specializes in bahn mi sandwiches and rice bowls.
Vietnom Nom co-owners Andy Huynh, right, and Chris Wetzler were thumbs up after selling out during the first-ever food truck rally on Market Street in Tacoma on May 1. Vietnom Nom specializes in bahn mi sandwiches and rice bowls. Staff photographer

Following in the footsteps of Metro Parks Tacoma’s food truck festival in July, Pierce County Parks and Recreation is also pairing food trucks and parks with hungry locals.

Mobile Food Fest will be a free dining event held Saturday at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway. The event will have about 19 food trucks and mobile food businesses, with eight of those based in Pierce County.

The idea for a food truck festival in east Pierce County was something recreation supervisor Andrea Clay has mulled for a few years, since she saw the success of Moveable Feast, a successful food truck festival, and the area’s first, that began in 2012 at Cheney Stadium.

Sprinker seemed the perfect locale because it had two things a food festival needs — plenty of space and decent parking. However, Clay advised attendees to consider carpooling.

Sprinker might have have a big parking area, but food truck festivals throughout the region have been attended in such large numbers that attendees have overwhelmed nearby parking.

In that regard, I often hear a single complaint after a food truck festival in Pierce County: “They ran out of food.” So arrive early and expect selections to dwindle throughout the day because as hard as they try, mobile restaurants, just like brick-and-mortar restaurants, are just guessing about how much food to prepare for a festival.

Clay advised bringing a blanket for a picnic meal on the field that’s adjacent to the parking lot where the food trucks will set up. In addition to food trucks, there also will be a beer garden and an entertainment stage with live music.

I checked in with Pierce County food truck owners to see what they’ll be serving (menus are subject to change):

Arnold’s Happy Days: Donna and David Arnold will serve the typical cheeseburgers and fries for which they’re known, but also plan to serve pulled pork slider sandwiches.

Budha Bear Bagels: The Puyallup-based bagel truck will serve its bagel sandwiches (salmon, ham, turkey) on a choice of 10 different kettle-boiled bagels. It will also offer mac and cheese, and the truck’s specialty, the half-pound bagel burger.

Curbside Urban Cuisine: The food truck project of culinary students at Bates Technical College, which offers training for fledgling truck owners, will serve burgers, wraps, fries and a Philly sandwich.

The Frying Dutchman: The Milton-based food truck features fried fish. It will serve fish, prawns, chips and fish tacos, but also will have vegetarian-friendly tofu tacos. It’ll offer two sizes of many menu items.

Lumpia World: Husband-and-wife team Derrick and Eleanor Ellis, who co-own two food trucks, will serve four styles of lumpia (Filipino fried egg rolls), as well as chicken adobo and katsu, vegetarian pancit and Spam macaroni bowls.

Kerry’s Caribbean: Kerry Ramroop, owner of his self-named Caribbean-themed food truck, will serve his usual menu that includes a jerk chicken sandwich and stew. He also says he will offer “jerk pork, in addition to our geera pork. Also we are going to have two kinds of the Jamaican patties: A regular and a special one with bacon, olives and capers. My new twist to an island favorite.”

Thyme Well Spent Catering: New mobile food business operator Chantel Jackson will debut her catering business using a truck borrowed from Word of Mouth, which operates as a food truck incubator for fledgling food entrepreneurs. Jackson, a recent graduate of the Bates food truck program, will serve “Italian” nachos with spinach and artichoke dip; sweet potato and barbecue pulled pork tacos with honey lime cilantro slaw, a pulled pork hot dog and a hot dog served in the style of a Cuban sandwich. Bring a can to donate to her church’s food drive and save $1 on any entree ordered.

VietNom Nom: This Tacoma-based Vietnamese-themed truck will stick to its specialties, serving banh mi sandwiches, rice bowls, egg rolls and pomegranate limeade.

King County trucks: Beanfish has been getting raves for its sweet-and-savory waffles baked on a griddle with an elegant fish design. The truck will serve red bean, apple and vanilla custard stuffed waffles, as well as savory bacon, cheddar and green onion. Peasant Food Manifesto will serve mac and cheese with kimchi, biscuits and gravy and a pho French dip sandwich. Stacks, based in Federal Way, will serve its specialty, burgers, and Spicy Papaya will serve its menu of egg rolls, noodles, papaya salad and skewers.


When: Noon-7 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Sprinker Recreation Center, 14824 C St., Spanaway.

Admission: Free, except for the cost of food.

Info: 253-798-4141,

Note: Bring blankets for picnic dining. Event organizers advise attendees to carpool.