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Hamilton's Sew Hungry food truck rally hits new heights

Thousands of people came to Ottawa Street North and ate the day away.
Hula Girl is just one of 22 food Trucks that will be serving on Ottawa Street on Friday. (Larry Strung)

They came, they saw, they ate. Then they ate some more.

Overheard at Sew Hungry

  • Cheryl from Hamilton: Cheryl came to Sew Hungry because it was local, close, and local. "It’s a friendly, fabulous experience."
  • Valentina: "The food trucks and crowds are polite, friendly, and hospitable."
  • A couple from Oakville (heard about Sew Hungry [SH] from the Internet): "It’s fun."
  • Maria (a follower of Gorilla Cheese and Southern Smoke found out about Sew Hungry from Twitter): "It’s been pretty amazing."
  • Mark: "It’s been full of food."
  • A mother-to-be: "Fun! It’s a nice afternoon out and yummy. Everything’s smells great."
  • Elizabeth from Windsor: "I just love food trucks because I love smelling and eating the fast, yummy food."
  • Judy from Hamilton (heard about SH from the paper): "It’s really great that you can have something like this here. My favorite was the rice balls from Dobro Jesti."
  • A couple from Hamilton: "We love Ottawa Street. It’s great."
  • Juby from Hamilton: "I saw Buster’s Sea Cove and had to come to Sew Hungry. The Cupcake Diner completed my experience."

An estimated 15,000 people flooded Ottawa Street North Friday, some lining up for an hour to eat from one of 22 food trucks and six curbside restaurant stands.

The third Sew Hungry attracted people from as far away as Buffalo and Orillia.

"It's been awesome," said Mike Pitton whose food truck, Southern Smoke, was packed from the moment it opened. "We are overwhelmed, but in a good way," said Pitton, a Hamilton native who has had his truck in operation since the summer.

By 1 p.m., 14,000 people had been to Sew Hungry, said Hamilton police Const.Tony Incretolli.

With an extra block added this time around it was less congested but Hamilton food truck trailblazer Gorilla Cheese was drawing a big crowd between Main and Cannon. The wait for food at Gorilla Cheese was about an hour, elsewhere it was a more manageable 15 minutes.

It was the third Sew Hungry organized by the Ottawa Street BIA and thought to be the largest number of trucks to participate in a food truck rally in Canada.

"We are so pumped for the day," said Patty Hayes, Ottawa Street BIA executive director while surveying the growing street traffic at the corner of Brittania Avenue and Ottawa Street during the late morning.

The last Sew Hungry in May attracted more than 10,000 and 15 trucks.

On Friday, trucks incorporated local ingredients from the Ottawa Street Farmer's Market to serve food ranging from cupcake-doughnuts to pulled pork grilled cheese to something called an Aloha Fritter, deep fried maraschino cherries, coconut and pineapple.

Twelves trucks from Hamilton, six from Toronto, two from York region, one from Peel and one from St. Catherines fueled the feeding frenzy between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Sid Friedman from Ontario Food Trucks said the growth of Sew Hungry demonstrates a couple of things.

"One of the most important is that people like to have more choice of good, fresh homemade food and in the case of Sew Hungry, it illustrates how it can be a win-win situation for retail, restaurants and food trucks working in collaboration."

For a look at the action, head over to our Facebook gallery here. Then tag yourself in our photobooth here.