Under a canopy of blue skies, heavenly aromas filled the air at Monmouth Park Racetrack as the fifth annual Jersey Shore Food Truck festival kicked off its three-day run on Saturday. Patti Baxter, founder of Spark Market Solutions, says the crowds and offerings have grown each year, with more than 50 purveyors on hand to serve up something to please every palate.

Carlos Serrano, aka Empanada Guy, runs one of the fastest-growing food truck businesses in the Garden State. Baxter pointed out that Serrano had one truck when the festival started in 2012. He now owns nine, as well as a restaurant in Freehold.

Food Truck Festival - Empanada Guy

“The American Dream does exist; you just have to work for it,” Serrano said as he readied his colorful catering cart for the hungry masses, adding that he believes he’s in great company at the always-anticipated festival. “Everybody’s got a unique talent. Everybody’s a winner here. They’ve each got their own creation and their own art.”

George and Libby Miller, proprietors of Five Sisters Catering, drew a crowd with their tantalizing offerings, which include the Pig Mac, Angus beef sliders topped with pulled pork, the Brie Burger, and the Guac burger, while Pig Fries proved to be a popular side dish.

Food Truck Festival - Five Sisters Catering

George explained that his wife, Libby, began her award-winning BBQ catering business before branching out to add the family’s food truck, where the couple’s eldest daughters, Ashley and Hailey, provide a helping hand. “It’s a lot of fun because we all get to work together,” said George, who added that the family is looking forward to bringing their delicious sandwiches and sliders to the upcoming Bacon Fest in Tuckerton on July 9-10.

The Summit-based Pizza Vita’s wood-fired pizza truck promised gourmands a hot, fresh pie in just 90 seconds. Benjamin Christopher, 10, said the Margarita pie he ordered, topped with homemade mozzarella and fresh basil, was “the best pizza” he’d ever tasted.

Food Truck Festival - Pizza Vita

Foodies looking for a healthy treat found it at Amanda’s Bananas, where the crew whipped up frozen fresh banana custard-style ice cream complete with sweet and fruity toppings.

No matter what kind of cuisine you crave, there’s a great chance you could find it at the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival. For more information, including a complete list of vendors, visit the Jersey Shore Food Truck Festival’s Facebook page.

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Hero (Top) Feature Image (& Additional Images): © Elizabeth Alterman / Best of NJ

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