Thursday, August 22, 2013

Family Date Night: Riffs Food Truck Jam

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 5:54 AM

Riffs Food Truck Jam
  • Riffs Food Truck Jam
Having a toddler who is, let’s say, adventurous and extroverted means not getting out and socializing as much as we’d like to. If you don’t have kids but you do have friends with kids, you know how difficult it can be just to have a conversation since one eye always has to be on the little one(s) to ensure nothing (and no one) gets broken, lost, whatever. So I’m always on the look out for restaurants and events that aren’t just kid-friendly, but make it easy to entertain kids whilst still having adult conversation/fun. For example, Pied Piper Eatery.

That’s why I was very excited to hear about the kids’ play area at the Riffs Food Truck Jam, which takes place each Friday night at 400 Main St. in East Nashville. Here’s the deal: All the food trucks line up and, essentially close off a parking area to car traffic. In that space, there’s a stage for a DJ and live entertainment, and off on the far end, there’s a kids’ zone with bounce house(s) and other kid-tertainment such as balloon artists.

So you can just set up camp by the bounce house and let your little demons have at it. There are tons of other kids, and they all amuse each other, leaving their parents to eat and drink and talk without interruption. A family date night; this is a great thing.

And, of course, there’s plenty to eat and drink. There are usually about 10 to 15 different food trucks set up at the event, as well as an area selling beer and cocktails. I spied a lot of new trucks, including Crankee’s Pizza and Uber Tubers (tip: get them “boardwalk style” with a side of horseradish ranch dip), so this is a great opportunity to try out some new trucks (or new-to-you trucks) without waiting in long lines.

Know before you go: The event is set up in a large parking lot near Interstate 24 on Main Street. To access it from the east, simply turn right into the lot from the off-ramp at the termination of Ellington Parkway. If you’re coming east on Main Street, just watch for traffic coming off Ellington and turn right just before the overpass. There’s a left turn lane for those coming from the west on Main just after the I-24 overpass.

The event starts at 6 p.m. and starts to get pretty busy around 7 p.m., but there’s plenty of free parking. Entertainment keeps going until 10 p.m. with live music and a DJ filling in between sets. We heard some really good music last week, though, apparently, the week before may have been a little heavy on the Jimi Hendrix.

Definitely bring chairs and/or blankets to hang out for a while. Bottles of water are a pretty good idea, too (related: portable toilets are set up under lights). And in addition to being kid-friendly, the event is also pet-friendly. “Well-behaved dogs” are welcome. Also, the bounce house is a no-shoes operation, which means lots of dirty feet. Plan accordingly (my kid’s feet got dirty through her socks, which are now in the garbage).

Admission to the event is free, including use of the kids’ area. But you might want to bring a few singles to tip the balloon artist if he’s there (it’s the nice thing to do). Keep up with the list of trucks setting up each week as well as other important details via the Riffs Facebook page. Check it out tomorrow night!

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