Harlee Fujimoto

Harlee Fujimoto helps drum up street traffic for the event.

Eat the Street on Sat. Oct. 13

Article and photos by Anne E. O’Malley

See gallery of photos at end of article.

A dull, nondescript corner of Lihu`e comes alive on second Saturdays of the month with a drumline to rival a UH game compelling cars to make the turn and drive into the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Parking lot.

It’s the monthly Eat the Street gig with food from truck vendors wafting the perfume of popcorn, tacos, pizza and more. With activites for the keiki, it’s a 21st century update of the Mickey Mouse Club with action games — plus game booths for the kids — all of this to raise funds at Chiefess.

Barnum & Bailey would be proud of this production. This rendition of Eat the Street is the brainchild of Parent-Community Networking Centers Parent Facilitator Jody McCune and Chiefess Band Director Sarah Tochiki. On this night, the band was the beneficiary of the profits. They weren’t huge, but there was a buzz in the air and next time out — who knows?

Eat the Street is not a new concept, and in fact, one might trace it back to the medieval market place or even prior. These days, it has come to be defined as a gatherings of food trucks and vendors that may define ethnic food offerings, for example, all Greek, or all Italian, or a mix of whatever ethnicities are represented by the neighborhood in which it’s held.

New York City even has Eat the Street tours, crawling from one community to another for say, three hours, just hitting the stands.

But here, at the intersection of Nuhou and Kuhio Highway

We’re talking the intersection of Nuhou and Kuhio Highway, it’s Chiefess country and the novelty of the idea is sure to continue being a crowd pleaser. So far, the mix of snacks, desserts and full-on meals seems to work. In the future, it may grow, change or strike a theme.

On this night, participating vendors included JC’s Puerto Rican Kitchen, with John and Rhonda Cabello and their son, Noah, dishing out empanadas and more.

Paco’s Taco’s, with Paco Aguilar, assisted by Bailee McCune and Tonita Benitez, kept the tacos coming.

At The Right Slice, Sandy Poehnelt kept the pies coming.

Brad Nakayama of the Hanalei Taro & Juice Co. slid fresh taro burgers, watermelon-cucumber juice and so much more sliding across the counter of its wagon.

Savage Shrimp served its special courtesy of Michelle Murgia.

Granny Feelgood’s Kettle Corn with Gina Vivona serving Yamato Ice Cream — beatofhawaii.com calls it a “homemade delicacy” served generous $3 bowls of the delicious stuff.

Next Eat the Street dates at Chiefess: Saturdays Oct. 13 and Nov. 10.