Colleen Hamilton, left, of Cape May, and RoseAnn Mezzacappa, of Toms River, enjoy some pork tacos during the spring edition of the Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival.

By Donald Wittkowski

They were tempted by such mouth-watering names as Cupcake Carnivale, Olde World Cannoli, Grilled Cheez Factory, Pirate Pete’s Soda Pop Company and Comfort Food in a Bread Cone.

For 15 minutes, RoseAnn Mezzacappa and her partner, Colleen Hamilton, wandered around the Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival on Saturday trying in earnest to decide what to eat.

“We walked around and looked at everything,” Mezzacappa said, drawing a nod of agreement from Hamilton.

Finally, they settled on having pork tacos. But the tacos were only the first course. They planned to sample the fare at other food trucks and would probably have some cupcakes as dessert.

“We’ll worry about losing weight on Monday,” Mezzacappa joked.

Mezzacappa, of Toms River, and Hamilton, who lives in Cape May, first-timers to the Food Truck Festival, were pleased by the quality and variety of the cuisine served up by what are essentially gourmet restaurants on wheels.

The Pirate Pete’s Soda Pop Company truck provides the drinks to complement the food.

In all, a fleet of 18 food trucks from Sea Isle, North Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York made sure everyone was well-fed on Saturday.

The three-day Food Truck Festival wraps up on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. on the grounds of Kix McNutley’s, the nightclub and entertainment complex on 63rd Street and Landis Avenue owned by Mayor Leonard Desiderio.

Sea Isle’s food truck festival, billed as one of the top events of its kind in the country, has become so popular that it expanded into a summertime and fall event. This is the fourth year it has been held in June. Its fall counterpart, scheduled for Sept. 7-9, is entering its fifth year.

Eliza Hargett, managing partner of Stallion Marketing LLC, the organizer of the festival, said the location alone virtually assures a big turnout year after year.

“It’s Sea Isle,” Hargett said. “We’re a block from the beach, which none of the other food truck festivals have.”

These menus give a glimpse of the array of cuisine served at the festival.

Hargett pointed out that Sea Isle’s event has been ranked among the top 10 food truck festivals across the country by one online publication. Each year, the festival draws thousands of foodies and is becoming one of Sea Isle’s biggest annual attractions.

“We have a very good following,” Hargett said. “The trucks that come here are invited. People who come here want to be in Sea Isle, but we hand-select the trucks to give everyone some variety every year. It works. They keep coming back.”

Hargett explained that Mayor Desiderio was skeptical when Stallion Marketing first approached him several years ago with the idea of having food trucks as the centerpiece of a major tourist attraction. Since then, the mayor has become a huge supporter of the festival, she noted.

“It was a complete leap of faith when we brought the idea to him,” Hargett said.

Big crowds are attracted to the festival every year and this weekend was no exception.

The festival combines American-style food with international cuisine. Sea Isle favorites Marie’s Seafood and Bubba Dogs represented the local culinary scene with food trucks, Hargett said.

The Empanada Sonata, a food truck that came to Sea Isle from Brooklyn, N.Y., was doing brisk business selling its classic beef empanadas and vaca frita.

Marlyse McAdam, owner of the Empanada Sonata truck, said the festival made her 3½-hour drive from Brooklyn to Sea Isle well worth the trip.

“The people are great here. We love the atmosphere,” McAdam said. “It’s like a little vacation for us.”

Marlyse McAdam, owner of the Empanada Sonata food truck, serves up lunch to Kelly Munoz, of New Milford, Conn.