Dispatch from The Cedars Food Park Event on Saturday (Spoiler Alert: They Nailed It)

Categories: Events, First Look

See also: Photos from the Cedars Food Park Grand Opening

Saturday evening a surly red rooster greeted visitors at the entrance of the Dallas Heritage Village with an ungracious crow from its coop. Inside the Old City Park south of downtown, the bright green sloping lawns were speckled with picnic blankets during first official Cedars Food Park event. About 15 food trucks lined-up along the wide walkways under large shade trees, where, at least early in the event, lines were only 3 or 4 people deep.

Focusing on the heat would be a disservice to the event, but let's go ahead and get it out of the way. Yes, it was hot. Yes, sweat glistened from brows and darkened t-shirts. But, despite the uncomfortable late-July temps, this was still a fun event.

The melancholy three-piece band The Sicklies set up at one end of the lawn and poured their rifts through the historic park, while Deep Ellum Brewing Company poured cold beer from under a white gazebo.

Lee Harvey's held things down in the Alamo Saloon, a respectable watering hole back in its heyday of 1904. Did you know that during that time local breweries produced 75,000 barrels of beer a day (the DHV visitors guide says so)? Tait Lifto of DEBC hunkered down at a table in the bar where he was keeping the company of Chocktaw Jack, a stuffed grizzly bear and one-time resident of the Dallas Zoo. Tall tales and lies flowed liberally.

In addition to the picnic blankets and about 10 large tables set out on the lawn, there was a covered gazebo with a lot of tables and one of the buildings along Main Street in the middle of the village offered air conditioned dining.

If you went to school in Dallas, at some point you probably took a fieldtrip to the Dallas Heritage Village to learn about the early settlers of the area. Perhaps you even retained a few tidbits of information. If not, consider a tour when they reopen in September (they don't do tours during August).

This was the first big food truck event I've attended locally, other than the Austin and Fort Worth food truck parks. But, based on what I've read about the other local events, this one seems to have been a success. Parking was easy, there wasn't an admission fee, the setting was bucolic, the wait to both order and receive food was never more than 10 minutes and the vibe was totally chill.

Enticed, a shaved ice truck couldn't have been happier with the event.

"The food trucks have been looking for a place to call home for a while and if Saturday's success was anything of what's to come, then we're ecstatic," said Lauren Noblett with Enticed. "Being that Fort Worth has three food parks and growing, it's about time Big D got with the program."

They reported that as the night went on, the lines got longer. More importantly, for the truck owners, it was well organized.

"The promoters and organizers of The Cedars [Food Park] have taken into account all aspects that make for a well structured environment, from both the trucks' and the visitors' perspectives," said Noblett. "These guys did their research by reaching out to trucks, listening to the followers, watching what has not worked at other events and parks around the metroplex."

The food trucks will conglomerate around the lawns for the Cedars Food Park for lunch on Wednesday - Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Then beginning August 16, every Thursday evening from 5 to 10 p.m.

It's not open every weekend right now, but it will be open on select days and evenings throughout the year.

Check The Cedars Food Park Facebook page for details.

The red rooster was still yelling at people when we left. Red roosters are like that though. They never have any fun.


The Sicklies

Lee Harvey's set up shop in the Alamo Saloon

Side of a building at the Cedars Park.

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It was a fun, well-run event overall. By the time we arrived (7 PMish), the oaks and buildings provided shade so the temps weren't unbearable. There were guides leading people to parking, and access was easy. The band was super and the crowd let them know it. A couple of thoughts/critiques: Surprisingly, DEBC was the weak link. My group was the last to get any IPA in the building (sorry, everyone!), although I believe some may have arrived later. Additionally, the Pils ran out at the bandstand a little later also, which left the Porter as the only option at both places. In case anyone doesn't know, Porter is not very enjoyable to drink in 100+ degree heat. Ugh. Another minor tweak would be adding a few dozen more trashcans around, although everyone did pretty good policing the trash. Lastly, I can't really figure out how the weekday lunch hours will work. There is very little in the area to provide a lunch crowd, and, unfortunately, DHV is just enough off the beaten path to possibly discourage a drive from anywhere but very proximate locations. I do think weekend "events" a few times a month would be perfect, as would including a few other brewers. Our group all though Fall events there would kick ass.


"75,000 barrels of beer a day"


Assuming the barrels were the traditional 30 gallon barrel that would be 2.25 million gallons a day.  Assuming the population was 100,000 that would be 22.5 gallons per person a day.  Which would be even higher than the daily per person consumption of the City of Ate staff today.

Even if the barrels were 15 gallons that would still be 11 gallons per person a day.


 @cynicaloldbastard Man, you're always on me! I like it though. Keeps me honest. I'm just quoting the good word from the Visitors Guide. It's in the visitor's guide. Really, how could it be wrong? 


"In 1901 the city of Dallas has 200 saloons, or about one for every 200 citizens. Local breweries produced 75,000 barrels a day. Yet at saloons like this one, Budweiser beer imported from St. Louis was available."


Maybe one day we could all do a group tour, umkay? And we could heckle the guide for the duration of the tour. 


 @laurendrewesdaniels lol - hey LDD, it's all in good fun.   I believe that back in those days the alcohol content of beer was much lower than now.  People drank beer instead of water because many water supplies were not treated and therefore carried nasty bacteria.

My guess is that the 75,000 is gallons and not barrels.



 Hi, I'm the curator at Dallas Heritage Village. The beer and saloons numbers were from the research of our former curator, whose family ran saloons in Dallas around 1900. I think he was stating Dallas' production, not consumption. We were the distribution center for a whole region, which means a lot more people available to drink up that beer.

When the museum reopens in the relative cool of September, I hope you both come down. You could try to heckle our guides, though that would not be nice, but they know their stuff and will be up to the challenge.

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