For nine years, Da Portable Rican food truck co-owner John Pomales has been serving traditional meals to Hobart Summer Market at the Lake attendees, alongside his parents and brother.
"It's just a huge honor to see the reaction that people have to our food, because it's all my grandmother's recipes," Pomales said. "She was born in Puerto Rico. She taught my dad. My dad taught me and my brother."
Back then, everyone still had day jobs. Now he and his family own several different trucks and get to cook full time. His favorite dish is their pork speciality, served with Puerto Rican rice.
“We call it lechón,” he said. “It's slow-roasted for 12 hours. That's a recipe that's been passed down from my tio Ish."
Pomales was one of over 20 different food vendors at Festival Park in Hobart on Thursday, participating in the weekly Summer Market at the Lake event. Other options for hungry dinner-seekers included, but were not limited to, Polish sausages, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken wings, smoked barbecue, and wood-fired pizza.
“You can come here literally every single week of the summer and never have the same thing to eat,” said Nikki Lopez, Event Director for the City of Hobart. “I take turns eating at every one every week.”
First year vendor Indio Fontanez, owner of Smokin Indio’s BBQ, takes a lot of pride in his work.
"I enjoy everything from seasoning, to cooking, and the end result," Fontanez said. He and his 17-year-old son Marc worked side-by-side, feeding a steady stream of customers throughout the evening. Fontanez said he appreciated having the chance to be part of the local community.
"Barbecue always brings people together,” he said. “So what we do, it's all about people."
Courtney Zandstra, owner of the fresh-cut flower truck aptly named the Wandering Wildflower, was also inspired by her family. She started her business just this year, in honor of her grandmother’s greenhouse.
Growing up, Zandstra spent all her time among her grandmother’s flowers, developing a deep connection to the plants. Now after years of hard work, she finally has her own growing operation and it’s really taking off.
"It's very satisfying," Zandstra said. "Just from the farmer's markets I've been doing [for] a month, I've had so many bridal showers that I'm doing and weddings... that's such an exciting feeling."
Organizing an event with deep family roots like the Summer Market at the Lake meant a lot to Nikki Lopez. Lopez and her siblings, her parents, and even her grandparents were all born and raised in Hobart.
"I love, love, love my job,” Lopez said. “I can't really imagine myself doing anything else."
In addition to the food trucks, the market showcases local craft and service vendors, and provides opportunities to explore the lake through hoverbike and kayak rentals. Free live music concerts start at 6 p.m., every week, and at dusk they bring out the giant movie screen for a free movie showing. This Thursday, families were treated to performances by the band Got Issues, followed by a viewing of “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
"I like having a spot for people to come and congregate and meet with friends," she said.
As a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, Lopez was really excited to show the first movie and kick off an annual viewing tradition later in the summer. She plans on showing the rest of the films in sequence over the next several years, and hopes to see people getting in to the stories as much as she does.
"We want all the wands, we want all the capes, we want all of that great stuff," Lopez said.
The Summer Market on the Lake runs every Thursday, from 4-9 p.m., throughout the summer. Complete listings of this summer’s upcoming band performances and movie showings, along with other market information, can be found on the official website: https://cityofhobart.org/index.aspx?NID=207.
Hobart, IN 46342
Visit City of Hobart Partner Profile