I tried the food trucks a couple of years ago but ended up paying the same price for 3 tacos as at Hooters and that was without the table, chair, AC, free refills on the drink, and the waitress.
As far as the closures go, that has next to nothing to do with Gencon and more to do with year around business. One weekend isn't going to make or break you for a year.
There are a lot of steak houses in downtown Indy so dividing up that market too much was the issue on the closures there.
I was under the impression Tilted Kilt moved out of downtown to a location where they could have a parking lot. Much like it is here in Memphis, the only thing getting me to drive downtown and pay to park is Texas de Brazil. If I lived in Indy it would be Elmo's. Other than that hang it up, I will drive to a location with parking.
I actually didn't count the number of trucks they would fit into that line. Let's say it was 10 at a time. I just checked googlemaps--going out to one block from the ICC (including just across the street on Illinois) you have 22 restaurants (including Bee coffee and a trio of Starbucks). There may be a couple other Google isn't showing--it's not showing me the Subway in the Hyatt, for example. But let's look at them.
Harry and Izzy
Spoke & Steel
Dick's Last Resort
OP Italian Indy
That's the list of places you won't get into and out of in less than 45 min (optimistically) during normal meal hours. So that leaves 8 that you could get to, eat, and be done with in 45 min. Three of those are Starbucks, one is Bee coffee. So for substantial food, you're down to 4 places.
Now add the food trucks back in, and you're up to 14 places. Even when the lines are long, you are eating and done in 45 in the food truck line.
That is why they are there. No one said the food trucks would be cheaper--that isn't the purpose of having them there. The purpose is to have real food, right next to the Con, and a bunch of variety (not just 10 more ICC food stations), that will be quicker than going and sitting down inside. If you want AC, yeah, go somewhere else. If you want to sit down with a group at a table and chat, the trucks aren't for that either.
And yeah, the quality will vary too. Just like it will with regular restaurants. But the fact that you could go get your tacos right next to the ICC is the reason they are there. Of all the places 1 block from the ICC, maybe a place like the Ram would have tacos on their menu. But the Ram is not in-and-out in 45 minutes. It's an hour, minimum.
Dicks bodacious bbq right off the circle is pretty quick. And you can call ahead for pickup.
I personally don't care about a walk of a bunch of blocks. Unless I have limited time between games. If I have an hour between, the circle isn't going to work. When you add up walk there, eat, walk back, if there's any wait at all, or if you want to actually enjoy the food and not just scarf it down, that won't work. More than an hour, sure. At that point, a lot more opens up. I didn't use the trucks this year because I had more time. Ate twice at the Italian place right across from the Hilton Garden, next to Dick's Bodacious...Giorgio's Pizza. Quite good. But not as fast/close as the trucks, if you need that.
I wasn't questioning why they are there. The line of people would be justification for them by itself. I simply don't get the appeal for them at the same price. I felt ripped off last time I went to a food truck when I was done eating. But to each their own.
Are we still talking about hotel costs?!?
I was delighted to find that my "emergency expensive back-up option" booking a year out, the Conrad ($400+/night), has now become the cheapest available option. This is a pretty big change, from my perspective; the Embassy Suites, my book-a-year-out go-to since like 2007, is literally $999/night to book out-of-block. Pretty astounding, particularly when I called them to check why they were showing such an absurd price and was told it was correct.
Oh, and I grant that being an elite member of some other hotel chain might enable you to book at other connected hotels, so I am speaking as a Hilton Diamond member when I say that every connected hotel is showing as sold out other than the two mentioned above. Checking Hotels.com/Expedia/Trivago/whatever for non-Hilton hotels showed nothing available closer than 2 miles away. And I am sure someone will post saying it is too early or something, but I have been booking hotels at this time for the subsequent year every year since 2007, so it seems like hotels are committing even more of their rooms to the Gen-Con block for 2020, rendering it even harder to avoid the lottery.
This year's JW Marriott felt like an out of block room - price wise.
We came in on Tuesday so I needed to reserve an extra night outside the block. It was an "upgraded" room - just a bit more space on the corner. I paid an $50 for that upgrade and was told that I could stay in that room when Gencon started and not be charged the extra $50.
Turned out that Marriott phone rep was wrong - and upon check in they did charge me the extra $50 for the entire stay -- bringing the room to $300 + $44 parking. It felt expensive but I wasn't arguing.
We had a perpetual puddle in the room (including daily wet socks from accidentally stepping in the puddle) because of an issue with the air conditioning. It got very bad and a mechanic needed to come to fix the leaking unit on Sunday.
End of story, I asked front dest to take off the $50 per day extra charge they added to our bill, and they gladly did.
Gotta say - it was our best Gencon in 9 years and JW Marriott was the best place to stay even with the hefty price and wet rug:)