Food trucks draw people from near, far to first-time Arnold community event

Word that there were food trucks in Arnold was enough to get Joanne Huybrecht to cross the river from Indiana Township on Saturday.

In the Pittsburgh area, that’s saying a lot.

Huybrecht, her daughter, Kathy Myers, and her great granddaughter, Kathleen Marutiak, 8, all came to Fifth Avenue on Saturday for the city’s first-time community event, which saw food trucks and vendors set up around a vacant lot owned by Mayor Joe Bia and other investors.

“We thought instead of cooking or going to a restaurant, we’d come over and get something to eat,” Huybrecht said. “Hopefully, it’s profitable and they’ll do it again.”

Doing it again, next year, is part of event organizer Jamie Cutler’s plan. An Arnold native who lives within sight of the lot where the event was held, she put it together hoping to do something good for her community and bring people together.

The weather was, simply put, fantastic, with bright blue skies and not a cloud to be seen. It felt warm in the sun, and comfortably cool in the shade. Starting at 3 p.m. and scheduled to run until 8, the event had set up to be lit later in the evening for light and warmth.

“It’s a beautiful, sunny day. We can’t complain at all,” said Tommy Scanga of Vandergrift, owner of Del Vecchio’s Sausage & Fries.

Cutler said some people drove by, asked what was going on, drove away and then came back.

“They were so happy this was going on,” she said. “For the first time, it’s a nice
little turnout.”

After breaking for the winter, Cutler said she wants to resume the monthly event in April. She wants to keep it on a Saturday; she said she’ll talk with Bia about which Saturday to hold them on.

“It was fun doing it,” she said. “It really, really was. I love planning stuff.”

Dave Harkness, owner of Erie Distillery, said he accepted an invitation to attend from Bia. He was offering samples of his products, which include whiskey, vodka, gin and spiced rum. Harkness said it’s his first time in the Pittsburgh area since opening his distillery three years ago.

“Hopefully they can get this place revitalized a little bit,” he said.

Sonjia Westfall, of New Kensington, had tables set up for her home-based business, Sweet Tooth Baking. Her desserts included cookies and miniature bundt cakes and pies.

Westfall said she was asked to attend and said yes. She was almost out of brownies pretty early.

“Hopefully my pies will sell,” she said.

Westfall said she’d like to have a storefront for her business someday, maybe in Arnold.

“It’s nice down here,” she said. “I’d like to have a place somewhere.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .