What started out as a way to bring a bit of flavor to downtown Sioux City has blossomed into a street fair of foods served by more than a dozen of vendors.

And Sarah Fish, one of the organizers of weekly Food Truck Fridays, said she couldn't be more pleased by its success.

"When we started Food Truck Fridays last summer, we literally had a handful of participating vendors," she said. "Now, we're getting more food trucks, every week, and they're coming from further distances."

"Sioux City is suddenly becoming a destination point for food trucks," Fish said with a smile.

Nearly 1,500 lunchtime diners showed up June 2 when Food Truck Fridays -- a not-for-profit partnership among several community organizations promoting downtown food culture and outdoor activity -- returned for a second year.

"I think people like this location better than they did the Seventh and Douglas Street location we had last year," Fish said. "Here, we have access to two parking lots, more available seating plus more interaction with some brick-and-mortar restaurants."

This included Trattoria Fresco, an upscale 707 Fourth St. Italian restaurant that is located on the same block as Food Truck Fridays.

"I jumped at the chance of participating," owner Israel Padilla explained. "First of all, I loved the fun vibe the food trucks bring to our block. Secondly, this is exposing Trattoria's food for an entirely different market."

From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. every Friday, Trattoria Fresco customers can order from the restaurant's regular menu and eat in its dining room. But they also have the opportunity to eat al fresco from a completely new, evolving menu.

"We have an outdoor station where cooks make incredibly delicious omelets and some huge hot Italian beef sandwiches," Padilla said. "The fun comes from changing things up whenever we want to."

That's true for many of Food Truck Friday's vendors, which can ranged from hot dog carts, barbecue stands, taco trucks and anything in between.

Which is why Heather Bremer has made it a practice of bringing her three daughters, ages 10, 8 and 5, to sample food truck fare on a weekly basis.

"It's tough getting kids to try new foods all the time," the Sioux City woman said. "Having the girls choose what they want from food trucks is fun. Eating outdoors makes it feel like a picnic."

Bremer's 10-year-old daughter Annika was all smiles after scarfing down a taco from Daga's on Wheels, a truck specializing in Mexican fare.

"It was fantastic," Annika said, giving her lunch choice a big thumb's up.

Frank Fulton is also a fan of Mexican street fare but the Sioux City Fire Rescue Lieutenant is also a Food Truck Fridays regular for another reason.

"We love the food," he said as co-worker Josh Koppelman nodded his head in agreement. "But we also think it's important to be show our support for events that benefit the community."

Shawn Dose is also a Food Truck Fridays regular. Most weeks, the Danbury, Iowa, woman works in the truck belonging to the Leaf Grill & Wokery. However, this week, she's trying her hand as musical busker.

"I like playing my violin while people essentially ignore me," she said as her audience come and go. "Guess that's better than having people tell me to stop playing."

Fish admits that's not likely to happen since attendees have been pretty easy going.

"We knew that there was a food truck phenomenon going on and we wanted Sioux City to be a part of that phenomenon," she said. "Having the entire community respond and embrace Food Truck Fridays the way that they have is very gratifying."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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