Monday, December 11, 2023

Hooked on Food Truck Corral!

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

The hardest part of Thursdays is choosing what to eat at the Food Truck Corral at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls.

My group of friends takes a lap around the building to start, as each week the vendors change slightly. We scope out what we want to eat and drink before we hop in line.

The lines depend on weather and time of day — but you rarely wait for more than a few minutes.

I lived in Los Angeles for over six years before I moved back to Glens Falls. My friend Kevin moved back from Chicago; Amanda lived in Brooklyn.

One of the things we all miss is access to diverse cuisines. While Glens Falls has come a long way in terms of food options, it’s still difficult to get access to all of the flavors that spoil you in a big city. The Corral scratches that international itch, in a Glens Falls way. No frills, just small business owners making delicious food and offering it up to you in a small cardboard box.

It’s not unlike discovering some hole-in-the-wall spot in Koreatown that has the best rice bowl you’ve ever tasted.

But the Food Truck Corral is also distinctly Glens Falls. Comfortable, hometown and picturesque, it also draws lots of families. Kids run around, go on the bounce house or pony rides and get their faces painted.

We have attending down to a science. Get off work at 5, arrive at around 5:30. Then take our lap around the building to survey the options.

The event is set up in roughly four quadrants, including food, seating, activities and three music stages.

If you just drive by, you might not realize the scale of the Corral at first glance.

We’ll usually grab a beer from Mean Max or Bolton Brewing before we hop in line for food.

I have to be honest — being able to have a drink kicks the event over the top for us. What more could you want?

There is a seriously diverse array of cuisines on hand.

Recently I’ve been leaning on Slavonian European Cafe, particularly because Vashti’s Kitchen Delights ran out of her Jamaican Jerk chicken before I arrived my last two visits.

If you’re wondering where Slavonia is, so did I. The cafe’s owner, who prepares and brings the food up each week from Troy, told me it’s a region in Eastern Europe. He and his wife own the restaurant — he’s Egyptian, she’s Ukrainian.

He knows me at this point. Last week he forgot his credit card machine, and when he thought I didn’t have cash, he told me “it’s okay, you can just pay me next week.”

The beef kebab and chicken shawarma both hit the spot.

There’s much more to choose from, and in my experience it’s all been good.

Turkish, Indian, Italian, several Mexican options, Mac and Cheese, and plenty of variations on funnel cake.

I can vouch for La Capital Tacos, and the lamb gyro at Alaturco Gyro.

There’s lots more I’m sure is good, but I’m limited by my appetite.

Once you’ve got your food, there’s usually more than enough seating at picnic tables under tents located at each side of the property.

There’s plenty more than just food, too. Ice cream from Kaleidoscope Cafe, baked goods, cider, art, and of course, the stores in the Shirt Factory itself.

Some weeks the Corral is much busier than others.

“It’s a Goldilocks event. If it’s too hot or too cold, they’re not coming. It’s got to be just right,” quips Eric Unkauf, who owns the Shirt Factory and created and runs the Food Truck Corral with his family.

The past two weeks, the event was cancelled due to inclement weather, between the heat and thunderstorms.

The Corral draws a huge crowd but it’s actually smaller than it used to be.

Eric told The Chronicle, “It’s 60 vendors, down from 100.” He said the decrease was to “free up more space for seating and room to move.”

Even while scratching the itch for something you might miss from prior big city life, the Corral reminds you exactly why Glens Falls is a great place to live.

The Shirt Factory that Eric has redeveloped as home to shops, services, classes and original art work, is situated at the corner of Lawrence and Cooper Streets just east of downtown Glens Falls. Info:

The Truck Corral continues every Thursday through Sept. 8, weather permitting. Check Facebook for updates.

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