Fresno Street Eats has consistently netted more than 1,000 people at each of its events since January. Photo by Catalina Alvarez Jr. of Cat Eye View Photography.
Written by Edward Smith
Mike Osegueda’s name is nearly synonymous with food trucks in Fresno.
When he’s not writing about baseball for Yahoo Sports or caring for his kids, he can be seen around town organizing events in celebration of food. From FresYes Fest, Tacos Brews & Jams and Taco Truck Throwdown, some of Fresno’s most popular events involve Osegueda.
The latest endeavor by Osegueda, a team of DJs and a vendor coordinator is Fresno Street Eats, a celebration of what food trucks in the Central Valley can do by way of creative culinary concoctions.
About once a month, Fresno Street Eats is held at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co., though event coordinators want that to expand.
The food served centers on a theme. Local food truck chefs develop renditions of bacon or loaded fries, for example. Thursday’s event was “Sammiches.”
The idea was to move beyond merely tacos. Food vendors get a chance to challenge themselves on their cooking prowess, according to Osegueda.
“All of the chefs have really been into that,” he said. “They can do a lot of stuff that’s not on their menu.”
On Thursday evening, Osegueda estimated about 1,200 people turned out to fill their bellies with global takes on handheld food.
Mega Texas Barbecue brought smoked pork belly. Where’s the Food brought Vietnamese-style bahn mi sandwiches. The Gastro Grill by Chacon’s Catering made a decadent sandwich dubbed “The Hangover.” And for dessert, Ampersand Ice Cream served up ice cream sandwiches.
“We try to give everyone a hook that makes it interesting for people,” Osegueda said.
For the next event, Me-N-Ed’s will be offering exclusive takes on its pizza.
Of the 60 or so food trucks in the city, Osegueda figures about half of them are taco trucks. He wants to build a trust with the Fresno community and show them the more experimental side of the street food scene.
“I think there are other great food trucks and other great chefs in our communities,” he said.
They can use more unexpected foods like spam and create something of a “Chopped”-style cooking competition to not only satisfy palettes, but also shape Fresno into a destination.
“I appreciate the community aspect,” Osegueda said. “We can come together and make things that make Fresno look good.”
The idea began when Osegueda and Tony Heredia of Vendor Village came together to brainstorm an idea.
“These events can become a little stagnant,” Heredia said. “Because we are able to hone in on a theme and communicate with food truck vendors, they’re willing to come out of the box and develop these ideas special for us.”
Heredia brings the vendors and booking, Osegueda brings the food and marketing and Teezzy Radio — the DJ duo of Julio Lopez and Jerry Medrano — bring the music and create the atmosphere.
Now the team is branching out, seeking clients who might want to see their own events become a reality.
The first example of that kind of synergy may be the next Fresno Street Eats event May 10 at Chukchansi Park, with the pizza theme. The brand new social space at left field lent itself to being shown off, Osegueda said.
“We can dial back our brand and just organize events for people,” Osegueda said. “With our team, we can do a little bit of everything from design to marketing to booking.”
Until now, Tioga-Sequoia’s ample beer garden has provided space for the event, but the team has been thinking bigger. Besides the event at Chukchansi Park, the crew will be serving brunch for its Eggstravaganza on both days —May 4-5 — of Grizzly Fest at Woodward Park.
Osegueda is in the midst of setting up an LLC to make a recognizable brand to house all of his events.
“The natural idea” would be to partner with people or businesses trying to make an exciting occasion, but don’t necessarily have the know-how or the connections, but they want new ways to bring people in, Osegueda said.
“We’ve proven we can bring people and have creative ideas.”
Upcoming Fresno Street Eat events
— May 10 at Chukchansi Park: “Pizzafied”
— May 26 at Tioga-Sequoia: Burgers
— June 15 at Tioga Sequoia: To be determined