If food truck nostalgia in Little Rock had a flavor, it would probably taste like a hot dog for me. The year was 2010, which was still around a year from the conception of Rock City Eats, the food truck scene in Little Rock mainly consisted of funnel cakes, turkey legs, and fried everything from the traveling band of concession trucks that sold at the state fair every year.
In walks Michael Juiliano, better known at the time as Hot Dog Mike, with his fedora and shiny hot dog cart. I’ve wrote about it before, Hot Dog Mike was really the catalyst for the modern food truck movement in Little Rock. He was far from the first to try to run a food truck, but was the first to mix social media, personality, and the willingness to try new things that set the proof that food trucks can succeed in our city. It is a model that most still follow.
I tried Hot Dog Mike the first time that summer (oddly I found a photo with me in it right before trying) and regularly sought out his sets over the next couple of years until departing in early 2013. Now after 8 years, Mike is set to return for one weekend only. To be fair, he did hint at a return with the title of his last event, until we eat again.
Has the local truck scene changed a lot since he last set? Yes. Will people still come out to see Mike for a taste of nostalgic dogs? Absolutely.