Little known fact: Vegas StrEATs—the 2½-year-old food truck, music, fashion and art festival camping out at the El Cortez on the second Saturday of each month—was originally supposed to be a one-off. Held in March of 2011 as a collaboration between Slidin’ Thru and the El Cortez, it was more than a delicious party, too successful to not continue. Keith McCoy was there.
Wherever food truck culture arises, McCoy seems to be around. He manages the vendors for StrEATs while Alonzo Valencia (aka DJ Zo) handles the entertainment operations. “From a logistical standpoint, we’ve got it down, and our relationships with the city and with vendors are very streamlined,” McCoy says. “Entertainment is the most challenging part because that industry changes so quickly.”
Food trucks change, too, and McCoy has to stay on top of the scene to keep StrEATs fresh. “We welcome anyone who has a truck to participate in the event,” he says. Three cornerstones of the community—Slidin’ Thru, Fukuburger and Grouchy John’s—have an open invitation. “We consider them charter members. But we like to give newer trucks a first look, too, because it’s beneficial to the festival, and I’ll reach out to trucks that haven’t been out for a while.” One of his personal favorites: the tasty Mexican fare from Quality Food Service.
McCoy, who managed the great Johnny McGuire’s sandwich shop and launched a Johnny’s truck for a short time, keeps busy running his own restaurant consulting and design company. He’s currently helping open the Ogden’s restaurant, Wild, but he’s always focused on maintaining Las Vegas’ first food truck festival, even as more events develop across the Valley. “There’s some stuff happening on the south end of the Strip. We’re trying to create another area for food trucks there, and we’ve approached the county to do a similar pilot program to what the city has done. But Downtown is still sort of the hub for trucks. The food and music and street brands at StrEATs is really part of the nightlife scene there now.”
Vegas StrEATs Next event: September 14, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Jackie Gaughan Plaza at El Cortez.