Slow start for RAGBRAI food vendors

Food vendors got off to a slow start Tuesday as RAGBRAI riders took their time getting to Des Moines.

As of 4 p.m., vendors along the the bridges over the Des Moines River peddling pizza, ice cream and a variety of meat sandwiches said they were still anticipating an influx of riders to come.

“It’s been hit-or-miss, but it’s starting to pick up now that the sun is shining,” said Cynthia Hoque, of East Village restaurant Hoq, who was selling pulled pork sandwiches from a cart.

Natasha Sayles of Maid-Rite said most of her booth’s customers so far have been downtown Des Moines workers on their lunch breaks, and “a lot of people pretending to be riders.”

A big draw at the Hy-Vee stand has been fresh fruit skewers. Executive chef Travis Smith made 1,200 and so far sold only about 100, but expects them–along with 300 pounds of pulled pork and 600 racks of ribs–to all be in the bellies of riders by closing.

“Absolutely, we will sell out,” Smith said.

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