With restaurants still not offering dine-in options for those who want to get out of the house for a meal, one local summer event is returning to offer up an alternative dining experience. Heavenly Eats Food Truck Fridays officially drove back into Elmira June 19, offering residents four different food options each week.
The annual event, which started two years ago as a small fundraiser, has continued to grow into a weekly offering featuring a rotating selection. Now the food truck frenzy is a way to not only introduce the vendors to local residents, but also to give the community a chance to get out and socialize. Even though the coronavirus restrictions put a bit of a damper on spending time with friends and eating a delicious meal just now, the event and staff show no signs of hitting traffic on route to serving up new meal choices.
“It’s a takeout experience. So, you come you get great foods, the trucks serve awesome food. And it’s just come and take out, you don’t have to cook on a Friday night, which is a great thing,” said Barb Vodicka, event coordinator.“This is my baby, so I’m really happy the way the trucks have come to Elmira and how Elmira is really excited about it. It’s gone so well, and I’m very happy that it’s been so successful and that [it] started the buzz for food trucks. I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out.”
Sometime in July, Vodicka is hoping that the churches will be able to start putting out some tables and chairs to let people commune and socialize while they eat their meals. For now, she says it is just a fun way for people to eat out on a Friday night and enjoy some great food.
Currently there are four participating churches and one truck parks at each. Every week the trucks will rotate and change depending on who is available. The vendors also donate a portion of their proceeds back to the churches at the end of the day, which Vodicka calls another great aspect to the event.
After just one week back, Vodicka says the turnout was amazing and it was very well received.
“People didn’t mind waiting, which I did warn them. This is not fast food. It’s made to order. And so there usually is a wait anyway, but it’s worth it. So I always say it’s worth the wait and people were happy that the trucks were back and I think it went really well,” she added.
She also noted that this event is just as much about supporting the food truck community that have seen business slow down because of the pandemic and hopes that Elmira comes out and shows their support to these vendors.
Heavenly Eats runs every Friday evening until the last Friday in September.