Food trucks from around the country will roll into town this week as Food Network’s reality competition show The Great Food Truck Race films in Pensacola on Wednesday and Thursday.
The show, which the network describes as “a multi-week showdown that challenges food truck teams to outsell one another in a coast-to-coast road trip,” is currently filming its eighth season.
City officials said this week that filming would take place at Naval Air Station Pensacola and at several locations throughout downtown Pensacola, including Joe Patti’s. The episode’s final scene, in which one of the competing food trucks will be eliminated, will be filmed at Plaza de Luna.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward is slated to appear on the episode alongside host Tyler Florence.
“We are excited for their stop in Pensacola, and we’re hoping some join us downtown at City Hall,” said Randy Russell, who owns the Nomadic Eats food truck. Russell’s truck is one of two that regularly sets up at Pensacola City Hall on West Main Street.
“When we opened two years ago, there was still a lot of bad press about food trucks in Pensacola,” Russell said. “Through the mayor’s efforts, we’re now downtown on his front lawn. The Food Truck Race filming an episode here is just another step for food truck exposure and support in Pensacola.”
The issue of food trucks has been a controversial one in Pensacola in recent years. Currently, there are virtually no restrictions on where food trucks can operate downtown, but city council members have spent hours debating several versions of a food truck ordinance which would have regulated and restricted food trucks’ operations. Two separate versions of the ordinance made it to a second and final vote before being rejected amid lobbying from downtown restauranteurs who oppose food trucks.
Food Network hasn’t yet announced a premiere date for the upcoming season, but past seasons have typically begun airing in August.