Police descended upon the site of the 2nd Annual Food Truck Derby in Napeague after receiving calls reporting dangerous and violent conditions there.
“Our officers arrived to find a scene of chaos,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “There were about 250 people in attendance. Food truck vendors and patrons alike were covered in food and condiments, a taco truck was overturned and taco fillings were splattered across the area—and one person was chasing a frightened group around with a large container of hot dog onions.”
After getting the scene under control, police launched an investigation into how things had gotten out of hand.
“The event was supposed to be a friendly competition,” Hirsch says. “Last year, which was the first year, it went down without a hitch—people ate a lot of tasty stuff from the trucks, voted for their favorite food, and after the winner was determined, everyone went on his merry way.”
This year, according to Hirsch, many of the food truck vendors recruited partisans in advance to come to the event to try to skew the results. “They brought large groups of supporters—hooligans, really—who were spoiling for a fight. We’re talking some pretty rough specimens. Some of them had painted food truck logos across their naked torsos—it was quite extreme.”
Hirsch says that, rather than simply voting for their preferred food trucks, these unruly attendees actively worked to sabotage opposing food trucks.
“It started out small—where they would say disparaging things about so-and-so’s brick oven pizza or try to slow down the line at a food truck by making ridiculous requests for substitutions. But then they started stealing fixings—taking the barbecue sauce from The Whole Pig food truck, making off with the wasabi from the Sushi Wagon—that’s when things started to go off the rails.”
As night fell, Hirsch says, the tactics became ever more harsh. “A group of partisans from Max’s Wiener Cart attacked the Taco Tank and began to rock it back and forth. The two terrified taco makers inside barely had time to escape before the truck went over onto its side.”
Luckily no one was seriously hurt in the incident.
The event’s organizer, the Napeague Dress Code Council, was completely unprepared for the intensity of the partisanship at the event. “I really don’t think you can fault them too much,” Hirsch says. “Why would anyone decide to take something like this so seriously?”
However, as foodie culture becomes more pronounced, Hirsch says incidents like these could become more common. “It happens in sports all the time, and now it’s happening with food.”