A new food event recently became part of Vallejo’s waterfront scene. Beginning in June, Food Truck Mania, sponsored by SactoMoFo (which stands for Sacramento Mobile Food) offers about a dozen food trucks producing various kinds of fare each month, Wednesdays 4-8pm.
The food trucks will line up at the waterfront on the fourth Wednesday of each month through October, said organizer Askari Sowonde. “We’re going to combine that with the Wednesday night live music event,” she said. “SactoMoFo goes to 47 cities—they bring in a lot of people and it is going to be great for the waterfront.”
A Family-fun Event
The idea is to create a picnic-like environment “where people can come with their families,” Sowonde said. “We’ve been saying as a community that we need more events at the waterfront and more things to do for families, and this fills both bills.” Paul Somerhausen of Sacramento, a former economic development consultant, said he started SactoMoFo by accident about five years ago. He said it started as a way to call attention to what he considered unfair policies against taco trucks in downtown Sacramento. “We gathered a dozen trucks in Sacramento five years ago and were hoping for a few hundred people and got 10,000,” he said. “It was a sea of people. It was pretty fun. Eventually, I quit my job and went into this full time.”
Gourmet Restaurants on Wheels
It has taken a while for some people to overcome the “roach coach” mentality once associated with food trucks, said Somerhausen. “These are gourmet restaurants on wheels. They offer everything from lobster and tri-tip to nachos and tacos and burgers and anything else. The public likes the international food court idea where everyone can get what they want. There’s always a vegetarian choice. It’s practically impossible to come to an event like this and not find something you like to eat. Most meals will set you back between $8 and $12.”
Food Truck Philanthropy
SactoMoFo rotates some 50 trucks between its various events. It typically only visits a city once per month, to keep the excitement and anticipation level up, Somerhausen said. “We coordinate the event, supply the music and fun for the kids, but the trucks do the magic. They prepare the food and get everybody excited.” According to the website, food truck owners working with SactoMoFo generously give back to their local communities—in recent years raising thousands of dollars for organizations such as the Toys for Tots Foundation, California Firefighters Foundation, the Whole Foods Foundation and the Getty Owl Foundation, among others.
A chance encounter by someone from Mayor Osby Davis’ office at a Food Truck Mania event in Vacaville was the impetus for the Vallejo event, said Somerhausen.
“Someone told me about it; we went out to see them in Suisun, and it’s just what I was looking for,” said Sowonde, who said she’d already been searching for some kind of food truck event for the waterfront at Davis’ suggestion. “I’m really excited about it.”
The preliminary food lineup for the Vallejo event includes Bacon Mania, Dogtown, Gaga’s Rolling Diner, Gameday Grill, Hefty Gyros, La Mex Taqueria, Wandering Boba, Cowtown Cremery, Kona Ice, and a burger truck called Cecil’s Taste, Somerhausen said. A live band, face painting and a balloon artist are also planned. The event is located at 339 Mare Island Way near the ferry building.