The popular festival attracts an array of food trucks to the grounds of Kix McNutley's, but this year only takeout service will be offered.

By Donald Wittkowski

Rosemarie Dudek couldn’t eat everything that she wanted Saturday at the Sea Isle City Food Truck Festival, so guess what she did?

She got takeout.

Yes, while munching on a prime rib sandwich, Dudek pointed to a brown paper bag next to her on the table and revealed that it contained an empanada, a type of crusted meat pie.

“We couldn’t make up our minds,” Dudek, of Willow Grove, Pa., said of her decision to also grab something on the go.

Dudek and her family members were among the thousands of people savoring the mouthwatering cuisine at the food truck festival, a weekend event that is becoming one of Sea Isle’s biggest annual attractions.

Festival-goers Rosemarie Dudek, second from right, and members of her family enjoy their lunch.

The festival wraps up on Sunday from 12 to 6 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 September. Its counterpart in June has been running for three years.

More than 15 food trucks from across the Northeast served up an array of award-winning fare Saturday. The festival also features family entertainment, live music and vendors selling crafts, souvenirs, T-shirts, jewelry and other goods under tents.

Even the colorful names of some of the trucks were enough to induce hunger. Among them were House of Cupcakes, Mustache Pretzels, Pirate Pete’s Soda Pop Co., Baby Blue BBQ and Fed By Ed.

Larry Rice, the cook and manager at Nick’s Roast Beef food truck, serves up a meal.

Marie’s Lobster House had a food truck to give festival-goers a taste of what is available at the venerable Sea Isle restaurant at 43rd Street and Park Road.

“Everything is handmade at the restaurant. This is what we serve, and this is what we’re proud of,” said Lisa Rutledge, daughter of Butch Romano, the owner of Marie’s Lobster House.

Rutledge noted that festival-goers shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that food from a truck can’t be more sophisticated than simple hotdogs, hamburgers and French fries. Marie’s Lobster House truck, for instance, had a surf and turf sandwich and lobster and crabcake sandwiches on its menu, among other choices.

“It’s top-notch food,” Rutledge said. “It’s all homemade.”

Fran and Bob Taylor, a married couple from Medford, N.J., shared each other’s meal to get a taste of something different.

Fran and Bob Taylor, of Medford, N.J., gave up Bike Week in Wildwood to attend the food truck festival Saturday. Bob Taylor was snacking on a pulled pork sandwich topped with barbecue dressing, while his wife had a surf and turf burger. They got something different so they could share each other’s meal.

“Mine looks better than yours,” Fran Taylor told her husband.

Bob Taylor was undaunted. He called his pulled pork sandwich “outstanding.”

“It’s perfect,” he said.

Asked if he planned to sample anything else at the food truck festival, he replied, laughing, “You have to be a pig here and try everything.”