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TGIF! – Gear Up for the Return of 'Food Truck Fridays'



Photo for: TGIF! – Gear Up for the Return of

Photo courtesy of Smokin' Z BBQ

Food trucks bearing tasty treats will be rolling into four preserves this summer as the popular "Food Truck Fridays" series returns for the third year.

This year’s offering of delectable dining options will feature new locations and a later start time on Fridays from June 7-August 23.

“We are returning to Hammel Woods and Hickory Creek preserves, but we will be using different access points than we did in 2018,” said Ben Hecke, the Forest Preserve’s community partnerships and outreach coordinator. “The food trucks will be located at Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access in Shorewood and Hickory Creek Preserve – LaPorte Road Access in Mokena.”

Whalon Lake in Naperville will remain in the rotation and Messenger Marsh in Homer Glen will be added to the mix for the first time.

Here is the lineup by location and monthly Friday rotation:
Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access: June 7, July 5 and August 2.
Hickory Creek Preserve – LaPorte Road Access: June 14, July 12 and August 9.
Whalon Lake: June 21, July 19 and August 16.
Messenger Marsh: June 28, July 26 and August 23.

“In addition to the new locations, we are excited to welcome some new trucks to the schedule,” Hecke said. “This year’s truck lineup will include Tacos Maui, Burritoville, Cookies with Flavor, My Funnel Cake and Beach Bums Tropical Sno. They will be joined by return favorites, Cheesie's, The Fat Shallot, The Roaming Hog, Smokin' Z BBQ, Nothing Bundt Cakes and many more.”

Some of the trucks almost have a cult-like following, Hecke said. No matter where they roll, their fans are sure to follow. If you want to know which truck will be where, check out the individual "Food Truck Fridays" listings on the Event Calendar.

In addition to adding new locations and trucks, the starting time for “Food Truck Fridays” has been changed from 4:30-7 p.m. in the past two years to 5-7:30 p.m. this year. The later start should make it easier for people to pop into a preserve for a bite to eat after work or at dinnertime, Hecke explained.

“Starting a half-hour later is going to make a big difference,” he said. “We want as many people as possible to join in on the fun as we celebrate nature and food in our beautiful preserves.”

In addition to the food truck fare, Forest Preserve staff will be on hand to supply sidewalk chalk and games of beanbag toss for those who want to do more than nosh. Staff also will be distributing milkweed seeds in an effort to help monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

In the past two years, Hecke said he has seen two types of food truck foodies come out for “Food Truck Fridays.”

“Fifty percent of the people come out with their families and they hang out, eat a meal and have a good time,” he explained. “The other 50 percent are grabbing a quick bite to eat or taking food home.”

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