Over the past few years, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington has had plenty to say about how mobile vendors should be regulated in D.C., often butting heads with the food truck community.
The association submitted lengthy public comments to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in the past three rounds of rulemaking. But the group’s comment was notably missing this time around. Why? D.C. government officials already know what they have to say, explains president Kathy Hollinger, and further comment did not seem “necessary/appropriate.” She sent YH the following statement about RAMW’s decision not to comment on proposed food truck regulations:
Over the last three years, RAMW has made its position on the vending regulations clear to the Executive through three comment letters in response to three sets of proposed vending regulations. Although the published regulations invited further public comment to the Executive, the fact of the matter is that the proposed regulations are now before the Council, where they will be approved, disapproved, or deemed disapproved if no action is taken. Consequently, unless the proposed regulations are withdrawn by the Mayor from Council consideration, further comment on them to the Executive did not seem necessary/appropriate. RAMW will be communicating with Council Members about the proposed regulations as the matter proceeds.
UPDATE: RAMW does plan to participate in the D.C. Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ public hearing on the proposed regulations on May 10.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery
EAST LANSING, MI — How do you promote the upcoming release of the latest installment of a two-decades-old video game franchise to fans?
With free food.
Make that free themed food.
The latest installment of The Elder Scrolls video game franchise, The Elder Scrolls Online, is set for release in 2013.
To celebrate, the game’s developers, Bethesda Softworks, has teamed up with Future US and Fearless Media to feed fans hungry for the the new adventures.
The Elder Scrolls Online marks the entrance of the award-winning experience into the world of online gaming.
Players will inhabit a connected world, complete with a built-in social network, according to a media release.
The game isn’t out yet, but fans can sate their appetite with free, Elder Scrolls-themed food served from an Elder Scrolls food truck.
The food truck has been traversing the nation for the past month, beginning with its opening at the popular SXSW festival in Austin, Tex., and will spend Friday, April 11 parked near the campus of Michigan State University.
According to a media release, the food will include Pressed Eidarmelt (Nordic Jarlsberg Grilled Cheese) with a choice of three specialty dipping sauces: Fire Petal Dip (spicy, homemade marinara sauce), Emperor’s Garden (Chef’s special pesto) or Tomato-Mammoth (classic Bolognese). Sandwiches will be accompanied with Tangy Ninroot (pickles), Corkbulb Crisps (kettle chips) and Alocasia Fruit Juice (fruit punch spritzer).
The truck will be parked at 574 Stoddard Ave. in East Lansing from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
These SoCal night’s pave the way for wonderful opportunities to dine under the stars! Start your 2013 dining experience right by enjoying the food truck dinner gathering in Cerritos-Artesia every Wednesday night.
Join locals at the Atomic Eats food truck dinner rally outside of Babies R Us in Cerritos at 11540 South St. every Wednesday night and splurge on a variety of food truck favorites. The weekly feast takes place in the store’s parking lot every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Motorists in the lot are reminded to always be cautious of pedestrians.
The April 10 dinner lineup includes:
- Rajun Cajun
- Phantom Truck
- Mangia On wheels
- White Rabbit
- Fist Of Fusion
- Nonnas Kitchenette
- Rancho A Go Go
- Me So Hungry
- Ta Bom
- Cool Cow
* Editor’s Note: Patch will be posting the local food truck dinner list every week. For a look at menus, prices, and payment options, visit each truck’s website. Participating trucks and schedules are subject to change without notice.
Alpharetta’s first Food Truck Alley is in jeopardy because showers and thunderstorms are in Thursday’s forecast.
Special Events Manager Kim Dodson said, “Generally the weekly event will be considered a rain or shine event, but with the 90 percent threat of thunderstorms, hail, and strong winds we need to consider the safety of all.”
A decision will be made Thursday morning on whether the event will be held. Dodson said that decision will be posted on the city’s website and event Facebook page by 9 a.m., which will be standard policy moving forward for the weekly food truck event.
The National Weather Service has posted a hazardous weather outlook advisory for the area on Thursday afternoon and evening. The forecast for the afternoon calls for wind gusts as high as 20 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent, and actually rises to 100 percent in the evening.
Alpharetta-Milton Patch also will give an update on the city’s decision.
Food Truck Alley will be a weekly gathering that will take place on Old Roswell Street with a variety of rotating food trucks and music each week. Approximately 6-8 food trucks are expected, with seating available on the street.
Alpharetta Food Truck Alley is presented by the City of Alpharetta and Fork In the Road, LLC. Our live music sponsor is presented by Music Matters.
Parking will be available in three locations:
- Downtown parking lot on Roswell Street;
- Milton Center;
- PAL parking lot.
Staff reporter Shahid Abdul-Karim covers the New Haven Housing Authority, New Haven public schools and community management teams. Get the authentic view of diversity in a mixture of hot topics, news, events and community updates.
The Town Council on Wednesday appeared mostly in favor of lowering the $600 fee the town charges vendors to operate food trucks in Chapel Hill.
But the council took no action, and instead instructed staff to return in a month with a proposal to show what a lower fee would look like.
It also asked staff to look at a plan proposed by Councilwoman Donna Bell that would allow vendors to pay the fee incrementally instead of all at once.
“I want us to come up with a financial hurdle that’s comparable to our neighbors and revisit it in a year,” said Councilman Jim Ward.
The move came in response to complaints from vendors who said the $600 regulatory fee the town charges food truck operators was simply too steep.
Since the town updated its Food Truck Ordinance in January 2012, it has only issued two permits, both of which went to one vendor, Baguettaboutit.
Tracy Livers, who operates Olde North State BBQ mobile food trailer, argued in favor of a lower fee, contending that vendors take a “huge leap of faith” without knowing whether they’re going to make money,
“The overall perception is that Chapel Hill is just not food truck friendly,” Livers said.
Katrina Ryan, a local business owner, argued against lowering the fee.
Ryan said it would be unfair to brick-and-mortar businesses to lower the fee because they pay $5,000 to $7,000 in rent each month for the privilege of doing business in Chapel Hill.
“It’s not a question of whether you want this,” Ryan said. “It’s a question of whether you want to subsidize them.”
The $600 fee is the amount town staffers said was needed to recover costs associated with monitoring and enforcing food truck rules.
Staffers said reducing the fee would affect the town’s ability to conduct the twice-monthly inspections envisioned when the ordinance was adopted, but would not eliminate them altogether.
While Orange County is responsible for health inspections, the town regulates where food trucks operate, whether vendors pick up trash afterward and ensure they don’t block sidewalks, among other things.
The staff also has asked council to consider amending the ordinance to allow special food truck events.
Under that proposal, the organizer of a special event such as a food truck rodeo, popular now in Durham, would pay $200 per year to obtain a specialty market license for each site on which events would be held.
Non-licensed food truck operators would then be required to pay $25 per event specialty vendor license. Licensed operators would not be required to buy the license.
Other area municipalities also regulate food trucks, but their fees are lower than the $600 charged by Chapel Hill.
In Raleigh, vendors must obtain a $150 food truck retail sales permit and a $78 food truck zoning permit. Both permits must be renewed annually.
Carrboro charges vendors a one-time $75 fee and Durham charges vendors a $10 fee, a $25 business privilege tax and a $26 home occupancy fee if they work out of a home.
Also on Wednesday, the council approved a proposal to begin charging motorists a fee to use the town’s Eubanks and Jones Ferry roads and Southern Village park-n-ride lots.
The council tabled the item last month after it could not reach consensus on whether town residents not affiliated with UNC who catch Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) buses from the Eubanks Road park-n-ride lot should pay the new fee.
Brian Litchfield, the town’s interim transit director, told council that TTA is not interested in making a payment to the town to subsidize its riders’ use of the lot,
The town will begin to charge parking fees for the lots in August to coincide with UNC also beginning to charge motorists who use its park-n-ride lots.
Under the proposal, motorists who use the town’s lots would pay $2 daily, $21 monthly or $250 per year, and passes sold by UNC to its employees would be honored at town lots.
Smith had been setting up near the corner of Dock and South Front streets when city officials got involved.
It was then that Smith learned city regulations prevented him from returning to the same spot every weekend. Under current rules, he can only visit a single location for seven consecutive days or two consecutive weekends. After that, he can’t return for 45 days.
“It’s very hard on my business,” Smith said Wednesday, standing in City Hall, after a public input meeting on the city’s food truck regulations.
In short, the city doesn’t have any.
The city code does not clearly address food trucks or carts. To accommodate food trucks, city staff have been permitting them as a temporary special sale, which are allowed in commercial and industrial zoning districts.
Smith started an online petition asking the city to make it easier for food trucks to operate on commercial property. So far, it has more than 450 signatures.
More formally, Smith asked the city to allow mobile food units to operate between 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. in all non-residential areas. The proposal also states that the trucks cannot be within 50 feet of the entrance to the nearest open restaurant.
Wednesday’s meeting allowed food truck operators, business owners and others a chance to discuss the proposal.
But it became quickly clear that some business owners are concerned about loosening the rules to accommodate food trucks, which could compete with brick and mortar restaurants. Some thought food trucks should be limited to operating only during events and festivals.
“There was a lot of anti-food truck and food cart sentiment in our group,” said Doug Tarble, who heads the Small Business Center at Cape Fear Community College and frequently talks to people who want to start a food truck or cart business.
Wilmington Downtown Inc. President and CEO John Hinnant attended the meeting, but said the organization was waiting for the full city staff report before taking a position on the matter. Hinnant said food trucks have the potential to grow the economy.
“Food trucks tend to grow the pie as opposed to stealing slices,” he said.
Yet Jonathan Windham, who owns three Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in Wilmington, has a problem with food trucks competing with restaurants with physical locations, which he said have more expenses.
Windham, who has a Jimmy John’s restaurant downtown, is especially concerned about the downtown area, which he said is already saturated with restaurants. Windham delivers sandwiches to PPD 60 times a day, and worries about food trucks sitting outside PPD’s headquarters.
“It’s going to make it way harder to do business downtown,” he said.
Smith, who owns the Patty Wagon, countered that his truck is different from restaurants – no tables, air conditioning, bathrooms or waitresses.
“Restaurants have so many more advantages than I do,” Smith said. Whereas some restaurants show games on TV or boast waterfront views, he said he only has his food.
City staff are planning to formally present the matter before the city’s Planning Commission on June 5.
Julian March: 343-2099
On Twitter: @julian_march
Tucson’s food trucks will be setting up shop throughout the weekend starting tonight. Here’s where you can catch them.
• From 5 to 8 p.m. today, eight trucks including Jackie’s Food Court, Chef’s Kitchen and AFF Kettle Korn will be at the Safford Elementary School, 155 E. 14th St., in the Armory Park Neighborhood downtown. The school’s orchestra will perform and proceeds benefit Safford’s orchestra program.
• From 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, the trucks will host the Kickoff Celebration of the Open Arists’ Studio Tour at the Steinfeld Warehouse Community Arts Center, Downtown, 101 W. Sixth St.
• From 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, five food trucks (Kadooks, Smokin’ Hot BBQ, Serial Grillers, Jackie’s Food Court and Chefs Kitchen) will be at Crossroads Theatres, 4811 E. Grant Road, Midtown, for Arizona International Film Festival.
• You can catch them twice on Saturday: From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Food Truck Shootout in Oro Valley at Steam Pump Ranch, 10901 N. Oracle Road; and from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Downtown Food Court, 50 W. Franklin, Downtown, 5-8pm:
A Berkeley couple who own the vacant lot on the corner of Gilman and Curtis streets in West Berkeley has applied to open a beer garden and food truck market there, tentatively called the Westbrae Food Garden, or the Gilman Biergarten.
Linda and Carl Lasagna, whose family founded Westbrae Nursery next door to the lot but are no longer owners, envision 3,400 sq ft of outdoor dining space with picnic-style seating served by a on-site food trailer, in the style of an Airstream, as well as up to three food trucks or trailers. The application to Berkeley’s planning department was filed on March 29.
Dietmar Lorenz, an architect at DSA Architects who is working with the Lasagnas on the project, said the idea for the small-scale outdoor dining spot — which he describes as not dissimilar to the Hayes Valley Biergarten on Octavia St. in San Francisco, but in a more verdant setting — has so far been well-received in the neighborhood.
DSA has collected 60 signatures in favor of the project from local residents and businesses. The application did not require this action, as it is for a straightforward administrative use permit on a lot zoned for commercial use (and therefore will not need to go before the Zoning Adjustments Board), but, Lorenz said, the applicants were keen to present the concept locally.
He said the hope is that the garden can open soon, “with spring knocking on the door,” and that part of the thinking is tied to the reopening of the Ohlone Path and the new West Street Pathway, which is having its grand opening on Earth Day on April 20.
“We’re excited that we might coincide with the reopening of the pathway,” he said. “The concept is that the garden will be very accessible to cyclists and bike-friendly.”
Talks have already begun with potential food trucks, including rotisserie specialists Roti Roti and Vietnamese noodle spot The Pho Bar, as well as local bike shop Blue Heron — the idea of food deliveries by bike has been floated — but nothing is set in stone, according to Lorenz. Opening hours may be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays, with Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m.
The corner lot has hosted a number of tenants over the past few years. Most recently it was an outdoor yard sale-type event that included tents. Before that it was a pottery outlet, and for a long period it was rented by outdoor sculpture gallery A New Leaf, before they moved to Sonoma.
Until the end of last year, Berkeley had two food truck markets, both operated by San Francisco’s Off The Grid. The market on Shattuck Avenue in the Gourmet Ghetto was abruptly closed in December, while the newer one, on Telegraph Avenue at Haste, continues to operate every Thursday evening. The closure was partly provoked by restaurants in the Gourmet Ghetto complaining that the food trucks were unfair competition and their business was hurting as a result. There are far fewer restaurants in this part of West Berkeley. The closest are probably Lalime’s and Kikusushi.
There’s been a veritable beer resurgence in Berkeley recently, and in West Berkeley in particular, with news of new ventures from the likes of sour beer makers The Rare Barrel, The Mead Kitchen, Moxy Beer Garden, and Sierra Nevada joining established operations such as Trumer Pils and Pyramid Breweries. See Berkeleyside Nosh’s interactive “Drinking in Berkeley” map for a comprehensive review.
Lorenz said they are hoping for approval from the city in time for a May opening. “This great neighborhood is underserved [for informal eating options],” he said. “We need to wake this sleeping beauty.”
[Hat-tip: Lee Horowitz]
The Mead Kitchen joins local artisan drinks boom [04.02.13]
Nano-brewpub and lounge planned for Alcatraz Ave. [03.21.13]
Sierra Nevada to open beer tasting room on Fourth Street [03.20.13]
City approves sour-beer brewery for ‘beer geeks’ [03.19.13]
Beer garden, burger spot to open in South Berkeley [03.15.13]
Burgers and beer duo debut in Albany on Friday [03.07.13]
Off The Grid says goodbye to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto [12.20.12]
Thursday April 11, 2013
PITTSFIELD — Food trucks won’t be expanding lunch options in Great Barrington — at least this year.
The Board of Selectmen agreed this week that a proposed food truck ordinance needs additional discussion and won’t go before town voters for final approval until 2014.
There have been about a half-dozen food trucks this year that have inquired about operating in Great Barrington; in the meantime, each could seek a special permit to operate. Food trucks are eateries on wheels with food cooked to order and sold from a window.
Selectwoman Alana Chernila said the Selectmen heard from restaurateurs and their concerns should be weighed while considering bringing food trucks to town.
“I would urge you to be thoughtful about the [comments restaurateurs made about] restraints on restaurants,” such as taking away some business in difficult economic conditions, Chernila said.
Following May’s town meeting, the Health Department will be returning before the Selectmen with a map of downtown restaurants for further discussion on where food trucks could operate.
The bylaw before the Selectmen establishes a Mobile Food Vendors Committee to process food truck applications. The bylaw prohibits trucks from locating within 50 feet of a business, along with other regulations.
Selectmen on Monday were undecided whether food trucks should operate within downtown or other sections of the town.
need to be a zoning change to allow food trucks to establish locations outside of the B Zone, which extends from Castle Street to Elm Street from the north to the south.
In the B Zone, restaurants are allowed to operate by right without parking requirements.
Selectwoman Deborah Phillips had questions about the limited availability of parking spots.
“[Food trucks] take up two or three parking spots,” she said.
Restaurateurs were solicited for feedback by town officials. Several stated that allowing food trucks within 50 feet was too close to their business. Others said Great Barrington has plenty of food options and questioned why food trucks were needed.
To reach John Sakata:
or (413) 496-6240.
On Twitter: @jsakata
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