For some it was a sprint and others a marathon, but whatever race they chose through Arlington Park's 5th annual Food Truck Festival Saturday, most eaters left fulfilled.
"We're trying to hit all the different ones we either haven't been to before or have things other trucks don't," said Nic DeFilippis of Hoffman Estates. "There's something about the limited menu, and it's like this is all you get, and if you don't want it, try another truck."
More than a dozen food trucks with fares ranging from lobster or soul food to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches or artisan tacos crowded the racetrack's east extension for four hours Saturday as the array of horse races carried on nearby.
"We do one of these every weekend," said Michael Lapinard, owner of Fresh Off The Grill. "It's great for marketing because there are a lot of people here who might not try a food truck otherwise, and now they may like it so much they use our app to track where we're going to be."
It was just a happy accident for Russ and Laurie Biesterfeld of Elk Grove Village that the food truck festival was happening Saturday. They came for the horse racing, but they also arrived hungry.
"It's not food trucks we like -- we like food," joked Laurie Biesterfeld.
"Hopefully we'll win in some races and spread it around, because winning is definitely beneficial to our spending on food," Russ Biesterfeld said.
Organizers stage the event the first weekend after the Fourth of July holiday each year. Despite the numerous options, each truck had lines at least 10 people deep for most of the afternoon. The sunny skies and warm weather Saturday helped the beverage and dessert trucks keep busy too.
While some took their time deciding which truck was going to satiate their hunger, other eaters like Jake Jacobson of Elk Grove Village had a different strategy.
"I went to the one with the shortest line," he said through bites of fried rice and egg rolls. "Sometimes you just want food and you want it now."