- Mark Baratelli (photo by Brian Carlson)
If you’ve ever munched, licked or slurped a tasty treat from one of Orlando’s copious food trucks, you might owe your stuffed, jubilant stomach to Mark Baratelli’s vision. Baratelli doesn’t run one of the rolling kitchens, but the civic sparkplug and arts advocate did mastermind TheDailyCity.com Food Truck Bazaar in 2011, a food truck caravan that wheels through Central Florida venues and parking lots across the region. Corralling more than 14,000 visitors each month, Baratelli’s gatherings dish equal servings homegrown cuisine and community cohesion.
“One of the things that really took me by surprise was a woman [telling] us that she times her Disney Vacation Club vacations around the Food Truck Bazaar,” Baratelli says. “Disney is here in one place, and the local food trucks are in another place. That’s tangible evidence that people want to do this … It’s helping the city of Orlando, and the communities of Orlando, rebrand themselves.”
He’s got business acumen and media juju, sure. But what we really want to know from the mobile-munchies wrangler is: What’s his favorite dish? But he’s not telling. “Nothing tastes as good as seeing hundreds and hundreds of people eating at an event that I put together.”