By Jill Beckel
This year’s sixth biannual Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival on Sunday, April 12, featured delicious food, live performances and entertainment. Held in the spring and the fall, this festival of food highlights neighborhood eateries and food trucks. A beautiful, sunny spring day brought out an estimated 40,000 people (!) to Main Street, Manayunk (and starting last year, they finally shut down Main Street for it). Despite the crowded lines, that didn’t stop most people from lining up for their food truck favorites. It was a perfect mix of kids, dogs, ‘Yunkers and people from all over the Philadelphia area. Everyone came hungry and eager to try out an assortment of food trucks selling everything from savory BBQ, pizza, dumplings, tacos, meatballs, sandwiches, sweet desserts like popsicles, ice-cream, cupcakes and much, much more.
Participating vendors also highlighted their dishes with the featured spring ingredient – strawberries! A favorite strawberry item was definitely the strawberry s’mores pizza from The Pizza Wagon. Who knew that pizza and dessert could make such a heavenly mix? A pizza crust, fresh strawberries, marshmallows and chocolate syrup – it was simply perfection.
With over 50 food trucks lining Main Street to choose from and each truck featuring about 4-5 different options, it was really hard to decide what to get. Everyone loves food trucks because of their fresh, made-to-order items and DIY mentality. They are a perfect way to try something new or a try out a new version of an old favorite.
Robin Admana from Foolish Waffles served up some delicious fried chicken and waffles. Luis and staff at Loco Lucho’s Empanadas featured Philly cheesesteak and chicken cheesesteak empanadas and beef kabobs. Kami, a Korean taco truck, offered delicious Korean BBQ style foods including Korean beef tacos. Just Jackie’s Food Truck had a delicious buffalo chicken mac and cheese with four cheeses that was to die for. Humpty’s Dumplings was frying up pork, chicken, vegetarian and cheesecake dumplings that were little balls of goodness! Steve Koste from Sum Pig offered buffalo chicken nachos, a smoked pork parfait and a tasty bacon bleu burger. Mac Mart Cart had an extremely long line the whole day. People sure love their mac and cheese carb loading!
StrEAT Festival goers also got to sample several homemade oils, spices, and jams from the gourmet food vendors. If you still needed a snack, Saint Lucifer Spice had popcorn samples with their signature spice on top. The Bacon Jams had all three of their amazing bacon jams (Original, Black Pepper and Red Chile & Garlic) available for tasting.
And don’t forget dessert! Milk Sugar Cakes had sweet treats like delicious cupcakes, cookies, lemon pound cake and more. Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream featured a strawberries and cream ice-cream sandwich made with classic shortbread cookies and other flavors. Vince from Mompops handcrafted ice-pops that are allergen-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, peanut free, soy free, vegan and all under 100 calories. The orange coconut one was delish.
The kids had a blast at Recess, a kid-friendly zone featuring a moon bounce, face painting, Twister, sidewalk chalk, and more at Canal View Park. Live music including Tropical Nasty and Stella Ruze bands kept the party going all day and performed on the Green Lane stage, Cotton Street and Shurs Lane. Merge Dance Company of Merge Dance Studio in Manayunk performed a selection of dances at the Shurs Lane and Green Lane Stages. Awakenings Pole Dance Fitness showcased their amazing skills with live pole dance demonstrations and free trial class passes.
After a long day in the hot sun, StrEAT Festival visitors grabbed ice cold lemonade from Shade Lemonade Beverage Co. and juices and smoothies from Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies. The 21 and older guests enjoyed the MNYK Beer Garden on Cotton Street where they sampled some of the area’s best brews and played games like cornhole.
The StrEAT Food Festival also served as a kickoff celebration to Manayunk Restaurant Week which runs until Friday, April 24th. Some of Manayunk’s finest eateries will be highlighting exclusive three course meals which will be offered at $15, $25, and $35 price ranges. This is a perfect way to try new appetizers, entrees and desserts or go to a restaurant that you have been meaning to try.