Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Feb 11, 2014
Kim Rivers

Detroit Fire Department fills up on free food truck lunch

DETROIT, MI — Chorizo tacos, burgers with Swiss and “Papa
Smurf ” macaroni and cheese were some of the options for the Detroit Department
of Public Safety employees’ free food truck lunch Monday, Feb. 10.

The employees lined up outside the new department building
on Third Street to order their choices from three food trucks – the prize for
winning a Dove Men+Care national contest.

Detroit Fire Department Deputy Chief Doug Lyon found out
about the national contest from his wife and decided to enter the public safety
department into the men skincare line’s Irritation-Free Monday contest.

The new department’s location doesn’t afford any easy lunch
options, Lyon said, which makes it difficult for the hundreds of public safety
workers who work in the new building. 

“You have no idea what we have to go through to get lunch,”
Debbie Lyon, the chief’s wife and public safety employee, said.

Chief Doug Lyon entered the contest, explaining that while
it’s wonderful to have a new headquarters and that each department is learning
how to work in the same building together, the lack of lunch options makes life
especially irritating.

Dove Men+Care agreed. The company organized to have three food trucks
come to the new department headquarters and said it would serve the first 175
employees who came out to eat.

That cost Dove Men+Care about $10,000, Chief Lyon said.

Matthew McCarthy, senior director of deodorants at Unilever,
Dove Men+Care’s parent company, said Chief Lyon’s description of the great new
headquarters but struggle finding lunch was what the company was looking for in
a winner.

“We hope today’s food truck bonanza helped create an
irritation-free Monday for him and his team, so they can focus on Detroit’s
citizens,” McCarthy said.

Dan and Lindsay Gearig, owners of StrEAT Detroit, operated
the food trucks part of the free lunch day.

Lindsay Gearig said they were contacted to be part it and they
jumped at the request.

“It was such a neat opportunity to serve the folks here at
DPS,” she said. “It was a no-brainer to be involved.”

Gearig said based on Monday’s turnout, at least one food
truck will stop back by DPS headquarters for employees to purchase lunch in the
future.

And they’re likely to have eager customers. Fire Department
Lt. Phillip Mautz said the lunch was “awesome.”

“I would absolutely pay for this,” he said. “This makes it
really convenient.”

The Gearig’s food trucks El Guapo and the Mac Shack travel
around the city throughout the week, but are also available for private
catering and events.

Those interested in having their own kind of
“irritation-free Monday” party can check out the rates on their websites: El
Guapo
and Mac Shack.

By the end of the busy lunch, Chief Lyon, who was promoted
to Deputy Chief Monday morning after 36 years with the fire department, was
glad it went off without a hitch. 

“It’s like I bought lunch for everyone,” he said, smiling.

An earlier version of this article referenced the men skincare line as solely Dove. It has been corrected to its full, separate brand name of Dove Men+Care.

Katie Bailey is a photographer and general assignment
reporter for MLive Detroit. Email her at Katie_Bailey@mlive.com,
call her at 919-610-9049, and follow her on Twitter

Recommended Reading

Feb 11, 2014
Kim Rivers

Eden Prairie proposes Live Well food truck



Quantcast




‘);
}
document.write(‘

  • ‘);
    document.write(‘

  • ‘);
    jQuery(‘.navTab’ + ad_AdvertiserArray.data[adt].advertiserID).click(ad_AdvertiserArray.data[adt], function(eventObj){
    window.location.href = “http://” + hostEnv + “www.startribune.com/weekly-ads/?dppAID=” + eventObj.data.advertiserID;
    });
    jQuery(‘.navTabWa’ + ad_AdvertiserArray.data[adt].advertiserID).click(ad_AdvertiserArray.data[adt], function(eventObj){
    window.location.href = “http://” + hostEnv + “www.startribune.com/weekly-ads/?dppAID=” + eventObj.data.advertiserID;
    });
    }

    ‘);
    }
    dppNavTab.start();


    ul > li > a > img {
    margin-left: 4px;
    }
    ]]>

     

    A familiar sight along Marquette Avenue, food trucks are a popular lunch option for people who work in downtown Minneapolis. Now one may soon be cruising around Eden Prairie, delivering healthy, freshly cooked entrees and sides at parks and outdoor events.

    The food truck idea, brought to City Council members’ attention early last month by Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens’ Health and Wellness Committee, would be part of the larger “Live Well, Eden Prairie” health and wellness initiative the city undertook in August 2012.

    Eden Prairie is only the second city in Minnesota to pursue such a wellness program, following Eagan, which launched its “Healthy Eating, Active Living” program only three months earlier.

    “It’s really our City Council taking a stand [in health and wellness],” said Jay Lotthammer, Eden Prairie’s director of parks and recreation.

    As an extension of the community center’s cafe, the food truck would service all of Eden Prairie, stopping at parks and lakes and showing up at outdoor events as well, according to Lotthammer.

    Fundraising and advertising would offset an initial cost of between $50,000 and $60,000, and the city hopes the food truck would in this way become self-sustainable, Lotthammer said.

    Already the city has reached out to Eden Prairie farmers about contracting for their produce, and ideas are floating about replacing chips with fresh fruit and doing away with ice cream in favor of frozen yogurt topped by local farmers’ berries.

    The tented concessions stands the city currently use do not offer much opportunity for food preparation and rely heavily on prepackaged foods. A food truck would make it easier to cook hot meals like chicken or fajitas while complying with state health codes, Lotthammer said.

    Jenine Anderson, who works in downtown Minneapolis and has frequented the food trucks there, said that she would like to see “foodie-inspired fare from local chefs, healthy options and light bites like lettuce wraps and other interesting creations like we get in food trucks downtown.” She said classic State Fair foods would also be a draw for her.

    Live Well, Eden Prairie looks to improve the overall quality of life, Lotthammer explained. “It isn’t just about fitness; it isn’t just about nutrition,” he said.

    Eden Prairie’s Health and Wellness Committee is also looking at other options for expanding the Live Well program, such as including local farmers in community events, continuing a Community-Supported Agriculture network and working with local restaurants to encourage them to put healthy options on the menu.

    The cit’s other wellness efforts

    This isn’t the first time Eden Prairie has taken an interest in expanding healthy eating opportunities. The city’s Prairie View Elementary School is home to what the city refers to as an “edible garden.” Elementary students tend this small vegetable plot during the school year while learning about healthy eating in a more hands-on way.

    As part of the Live Well project, Eden Prairie may also pursue recognition as a Blue Zone, what Minnesota native Dan Buettner termed for areas that experience life expectancies of 100 or older at rates 10 times that of the U.S. average.

    Buettner’s research originally identified as Blue Zones the far-ranging locales of Sardinia; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, Calif. His research focused on how environmental and social conditions in these cities contributed to the populations’ longevity and wellness.

    Albert Lea became the only recognized Blue Zone city in Minnesota after participating in the AARP/United Health-sponsored Blue Zones Vitality Project between 2009 and 2012. The project aimed to improve overall health in the city with project leaders working alongside Albert Lea city officials to designate more walking trails and gardens, and to engage local restaurants about healthier options on their menus.

    “It’s more an active involvement in engagement than a checking off of boxes,” Lotthammer said of what recognition of the city as a Blue Zone means. It’s about involving faith organizations, school districts and others in improving wellness citywide, he said.

    • get related content delivered to your inbox

    ‘);
    }
    if(jQuery.inArray(’2611′, userSubsArray ) == -1) {
    document.write(‘

  • ‘);
    }
    if(jQuery.inArray(’2751′, userSubsArray ) == -1) {
    document.write(‘

  • ‘);
    }

  • manage my email subscriptions
  • ‘);
    }

    ul > li > a > img {
    margin-left: 4px;
    }
    ]]>


    ADVERTISEMENT

    • Most read
    • Most Emailed
    • Most Watched

    <![CDATA[

    ]]>

    Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT



    inside the StarTribune


    sports

    Complete coverage of Sochi Winter Olympics


    minnesota topics

    Minnesota Topics: Latest on Target Corp.


    sports

    Metrodome 1982-2013


    local

    Saving Bobbi: A teen’s sex trafficking ordeal


    help

    Get our Going Out mobile app


    lifestyle

    Kid’s’ Health: Latest news and advice


    • 425 Portland Av. S.

      Minneapolis, MN 55488

      (612) 673-4000

    StarTribune.com is powered by Limelight Networks





    Close


    Recommended Reading

    Feb 10, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    The Great Foodini joins Buffalo’s food truck fleet; more mac, wine slushies coming

    By Andrew Z. Galarneau

    Michael Attardo spent years cooking in massive kitchens at the Seneca Niagara Casino and the Red Coach Inn.

    He traded them in for his own little kitchen on wheels, a food truck called The Great Foodini. After doing festivals and private parties, he wanted to start street sales in Lewiston, where he was raised.

    Town officials turned him down after Lewiston restaurateurs complained The Great Foodini would be unfair competition. Attardo offered to open at 11 p.m., when nearly every restaurant in Lewiston was closed, but that wasn’t enough to convince the town.

    Which is how The Great Foodini found itself making its retail street sales debut last week at the Wurlitzer industrial park in North Tonawanda, in a snowstorm, advertising, tongue-in-cheek, “Food so good it’s banned from Lewiston.”

    “It was pretty cold,” Attardo said. “People were ordering over the phone and picking up.”

    He might return to Lewiston for special events and fairs, but for now The Great Foodini is going on the industrial park circuit in Buffalo and suburbs, serving lunch to office workers and others.

    The truck turns out stone oven pizzas, po’ boy sandwiches, and more. Under the influence of his wife and partner Melanie Kushner-Attardo, who’s a vegan, there’s always vegetarian options like grilled tofu Caesar sandwiches and fried tofu tossed in sweet chile sauce. The menu runs $3-$8.

    Find The Great Foodini online at facebook.com/greatfoodinifoodtruck.

    In other food truck news, Macarollin, a Rochester-based food truck concern specializing in macaroni and cheese, is preparing to add a Buffalo truck. Owner Peter Causyn said the truck should be on the road by April.

    Also, Wine Not?, a wine slushie truck, plans to debut at Larkin Food Truck Tuesdays when the event resumes in May.

    email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

    tagged

    Food and Drink

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 10, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Food truck event

    Foothill Food Truck Fest the First Tuesday of the month at Poinsettia Pavillion was a huge success this month. There were plenty of food trucks to choose from.

    Current Subscribers – Activate Now

    Already subscribe to VCStar? Unlimited access to VCStar on the web, your smartphone and tablet is included with your subscription. All you will need to do is ACTIVATE now!

    Activate Now

    New Subscribers – Subscribe Now

    Want to keep reading?
    VCStar now offers Premium and Digital Subscriptions. Subscribe now and select how you want to keep up-to-date on local news, reader comments, photos, videos, blogs and more.

    Subscribe Now


    © 2014 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 10, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Food Truck Fever

    When an idea for a restaurant transforms from a dream you’ve yammered on about for years into a reality, the soon-to-be-restaurateur needs to make a real real-estate decision. Location is usually the first factor considered. We made ours 10 years ago, before food trucks roamed the earth.

    Prior to opening Restaurant Eve, Cathal and I went through all the other necessary tasks reviewing potential competition in the area, site visibility and local market demographics. When we researched economic information, traffic counts, crime statistics, population density and the local zoning ordinances of Alexandria, we came to a conclusion: D.C. may be a sounder choice.

    We were idealistic. We decided to go the road less traveled and set up shop where we lived, in the historic district of Old Town. Industry friends laughed and thought we were crazy, saying, “Old Town, you mean old dudes and tourists.” We didn’t see it that way. We loved the building, we loved the charm, we could see the potential and we wanted to put down roots. We bought into it all — even the strict, charming regulations.

    Being a commercial entity — a brick-and-mortar establishment — in a historic district, you’d better have plenty of Xanax and cash before you even begin the extensive process. Carry an attorney and architect in your pocket during this period, and you’ll only be one year behind schedule.

    The planning commission reviews special-use permits before they go before the city council. The permit governs everything from our cooking style, pounds of trash we can generate and the hours we can operate.

    We are also required to send notices to every property owner in the area immediate to the potential restaurant to attend our hearing. We present our intentions, most especially how we plan to arrange and offer parking to guests and patrons so it will not have a negative effect on the neighborhood.

    Then you have another hearing, this time before the Alexandria Old and Historic District Board of Architectural Review. It governs our paint colors, lighting fixtures, signs, window ratios, furniture, railings and planters.

    Zoning and code enforcement determines your seating-to-bathroom ratio, outdoor encroachment variance and a zillion other necessities. The health department (of course) and sometimes the preservation society have a say — which comes at serious cost to restaurateurs — all before the taxes: common area maintenance fees or real estate, business, personal property, meal tax, sales and use tax, litter tax, etc.

    But we love our Alexandria, and our Alexandria loves us — I think.

    I am perplexed, and this is where we restaurateurs are left scratching our heads. For years we were denied permission to place a chalkboard sign on our sidewalks promoting our lunch specials so as to not affect the nature of our historic atmosphere. Yet, no one seems to bat an eye that billboards on wheels can roll into the middle of the Old Town square, park in two spaces and serve food.

    Food trucks serve food, and restaurants serve food. Will the strict regulations governing restaurants be lifted since food trucks could not possibly comply? Will the guidelines be changed? Will I now be permitted to erect a huge pink sign? Can my graphic logo be larger than 2.5 feet by 3 feet? I can now pick my own furniture and decide when and how long I want to stay open?

    Because if not it would be commercially discriminatory.

    This is one reason we restaurants oppose our city’s intention of food trucks. Rules must apply to all, if not, a new set of guidelines need to be created or deregulated for all.

    Try this: Imagine your industry goes mobile, ‘Architects on Wheels’, or ‘The Boutique Bus’, now has permission to operate near your office and capture your potential business; but since the business model is ‘different’, your livelihood is treated differently.

    Of course you’d welcome the fair competition.

    I am a native of Alexandria and chose this city for my restaurants. Longevity, charity and good business acumen are a few factors that build community. Fleeting, in-and-out trucks do not have roots to an area and can just leave if business, weather and tourists don’t suit them.

    However, we — in the same circumstances — have to stand strong and rely on our best efforts in order to stay in business. Restaurants are substantial economic players and generate thousands for our city. If we generate less, the city generates less — will that help the city budget?

    Or is that pork taco more important?

    I do not doubt that trucks will pay sales taxes to the city, but what about the other taxes? Will food trucks contribute to our charities, historic structures and boards? When you ask me for a donation dinner valued at $500, or to add to the kitty for Christmas Tree lights on King Street will you be writing to them too?

    Restaurants not only generate money for the city, we donate thousands of dollars of food and, especially, our own time — time away from our restaurants — to participate in events that directly benefit local charities and to preserve historic Alexandria landmarks.

    We comply with all of the rules to be a part of this community. Remember, we bought into it.

    I believe in entrepreneurship — food truck owners and restaurateurs are all in the food service business. There is a need and place for these trucks. If a truck owner does have a commercial kitchen already in place in Alexandria, contributing to personal property taxes we will support you. There is benefit in areas where the trucks can flourish, like the Washington Headquarters Services, parks and industrial areas without cafes, and even school events.

    Our concerns are not created to stifle competition or deny customer choices. Please don’t assume we restaurants are just in fear of truck competition, we compete with each other daily — Opening and maintaining a restaurant requires a lion’s heart.

    We fear the unjust.

    Who will regulate the unscrupulous? Who will prevent a coffee truck in front of a coffee house? Will a bakery truck be justified to park in front of my bakery? I swept the street, planted the flowers, pay litter tax and then someone who buys a cupcake from a truck can throw their wrapper in my litter box and proceed to use my bathroom. Will the city then abate some tax or provide community toilets? Will the city allow its own first dibs on operating a truck here? Will the city need to employ more health department inspectors on my tax dime to ensure proper inspections? Will I be able to consent in a hearing so I know their parking intentions as restaurants must? Will you going to forget about the Mom Pop who put down roots in Alexandria before your food truck fever?

    Or is that pork taco more important?

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 10, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    City Council to Consider Food Truck Restrictions

    You could be seeing fewer food trucks around San Diego if city council passes new regulations.

    On Wednesday, council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee will consider the restrictions.

    These could include limiting service hours, requiring permits and even banning food truck from some areas.

    Food truck owners aren’t happy about the possibility of new restrictions, including Alex Gould. Gould and his wife own the food truck Stuffed.

    “We are also a business, just as much as any restaurant, brick and mortar restaurant in the city,” Gould said.

    Gould plans to voice his opinion at Wednesday’s meeting. He says he hopes a compromise can we reached. If not, he and his wife could be forced to move to a different city.

    “I think it’s reasonable that we should not be allowed to park in front of a restaurant, but maybe 100 feet away instead of 500 feet away,” he said.

    Megan Nares, a waitress as Zia’s Bistro, worries food trucks could take away some of the charm of Little Italy.

    “It won’t feel like that if you have all these food trucks here all the time,” Nares said.

    “Down here, there’s enough restaurants to go around to where we don’t need food trucks,” she added.

    Wednesday’s meeting starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.
     

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 10, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    The food truck revolution

    Imagine wanting to open a restaurant and share your culinary art only to find rents for commercial restaurants on Kauai are a hard nut to crack, and in many cases cost prohibitive without being a person of wealth.  


    Fast forward to Kauai 2014. The last few years on Kauai have brought us an array of ethnicities in regards to street food by means of the food truck. There are Mexican, Greek, Italian, Thai, Chinese, American-style steak and burgers, crepes and the all popular Hawaiian-style plate lunch, lau lau, shaved ice and malasadas.

    Most people I know enjoy street food. Street food used to be sold by means of hot dog carts, pretzel stands and musical ice cream trucks.

    Food trucks have not only taken over for street food vendors, but for the conventional restaurant as a popular means to open a restaurant on Kauai. Kapaa town is starting to look like a ghetto with all these old step vans converted to food trucks.

     There is a food truck revolution going on.

    Food trucks were originally known and famous for large portions of food at very reasonable prices. Food trucks do not have all the overhead of traditional restaurants, while some pay minimal rent, others set up on the side of the highways and roads and pay nothing or a nominal fee to their local city or county. Food trucks, plain and simple, do not have the expenses of a conventional restaurant.

    The food trucks I have witnessed do not even have Porta Potties or a place to wash your hands. It makes me wonder where the owners and employees relieve themselves during a shift of work. How can a restaurant pass a board of health inspection without restrooms for their patrons and employees?

    Therefore one would think the savings in overhead would be passed onto the consumer, as I have witnessed on Oahu and many other places. I often visit a locally owned restaurant that has an excellent wait staff, awesome food, large portions and restrooms, plus their menu prices are less than the food trucks I have seen on island.   

    The food trucks I have visited on Kauai are priced way too high with tiny, humble portions of food. Food trucks in many instances are charging more than a full fledged sit-down restaurant serving similar food items.

     There’s a relatively new food truck I bicycle by every day. However, after looking at the menu, it was the same old story: high prices. The only thing that looked reasonable was the kids’ menu; however, you must be 12 or under. Isn’t that discrimination?

    I understand being an entrepreneur and wanting to live your dream and that dream may be to open a restaurant. You may not have the funds to open a  restaurant in a shopping mall, or you may just like the concept of food trucks. However, when a burger plate is $12-15 plus tax served on a paper plate with no wait staff or restrooms — and with the audacity to have a rusted lid mayonnaise jar on the counter with sloppy handwriting that says “TIPS” — this is just insanity.

    I want the Kauai fleet of food trucks to stay in business and make money. I would like to offer some solid advice. Here’s my tip, not in a rusted lid mayonnaise jar, but from the heart: Please serve larger portions. Think volume and stop charging fine-dining prices in a fast-food environment.

    Believe it or not, the next fad in business is fashion trucks, they are gaining popularity in Mainland markets. Who knows, before long there will be no need for shopping centers or strip malls in Hawaii, just good old converted step vans everywhere. Welcome to paradise!

    • James “Kimo” Rosen is a retired professional photographer living in Kapaa with his best friend Obama Da Dog, Rosen also blogs as a hobby www.dakinetalk.blogspot.com

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 8, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Reaction to new food truck ordinance varies

    On Jan. 27, the Lexington City Council approved an amendment to the city’s land use ordinance to permit and regulate food trucks. Josh Monk, city planner at the Lexington Business and Community Development Office, said the idea for permitting food trucks came from several areas. One of the main factors was many of the restaurants in Lexington close by 10 p.m., so food trucks may be utilized to serve the later crowds.

    “Food trucks are a growing trend in America,” Monk said. “There is a ton of potential for these trucks in Lexington. We have started to develop a nightlife in the city and when people are leaving those places, there is no place local for them to eat. We want to keep the younger professionals in town instead of going to Winston-Salem or Salisbury.”

    Monk began the project by researching food truck ordinances in other areas to see how they impacted the community and to gauge their success in various areas.

    “Raleigh used a food truck ordinance to bring people downtown,” Monk said. “It’s a quick and little less expensive option for people leaving the bars and other venues. They have a late night vibe to them, but that is not the only reason behind the ordinance. They can also be used in areas that are underserved by local restaurants.”

    Ordinance shows potential

    Monk said he has had contact with existing food truck owners as well as local business owners who are interested in operating their own food trucks.

    Ben Devar, owner of Camel City Grill in Winston-Salem, said he will bring his food truck to Lexington more often now that the ordinance has changed. Camel City Grill features artisan burgers, grilled sandwiches, wraps and snacks.

    “We are excited to hear about the new ordinance,” Devar said. “We have serviced Lexington during a few special events, and there is a ton of potential in your area. One of the strongest selling points about a food truck is adding something new to the table. Look at the effects it has had in bigger cities. Revamping the food scene trickles down into entertainment and collaborates into growth.”

    Devar congratulated the city leaders for having the vision to think progressively and to tap into the pulse of the nation when it comes to its developing food culture.

    “You want the perception to be a restaurant on wheels, and our goal is to give you that gourmet experience,” Devar said. “People will actually drive to your community to have a different culinary experience.”

    The new trend in the food culture has not gone unnoticed by a Lexington entrepreneur. Brittany Wilson, general manager of High Rock Outfitters, has expressed an interest in opening a locally owned and operated food truck. She said it is all about providing food for people after many of the restaurants have closed for the evening.

    “We are in the early stages, but I think it is a growing trend and something that is needed in the area,” Wilson said. “Many times we have customers who are looking for a bite to eat when they are heading home. Even people who aren’t going to a particular place often are looking for something to eat late night. I would rather them keep those dollars here rather than somewhere else.”

    Wilson said she envisions a truck that would offer a variety of selections with a concentration on local products.

    “Of course we will need to start small and offer things that are familiar, but it is an opportunity to have something new,” Wilson said. “It gives people more options and has potential to grow new businesses.”

    Wilson thinks the change to the ordinance is a great opportunity to bring the community together.

    “The more I get to know my community, the more I love it,” Wilson said. “This can build a new customer base and encourage the relationship I currently have with our customers. I can envision people sitting outside, eating and visiting with each other. It may encourage people to come uptown more often and check it out. I think it is a very good step towards a bustling night life in Lexington.”

    Restaurant owners voice concerns

    The ordinance may be a new and exciting venture for current and potential food truck owners, but the one segment that will be affected the most is restaurants. Linda Gosselin, owner of Café 35, said she does not mind the additions of food trucks as long as they are open during the later hours and don’t hurt existing businesses.

    “As long as it’s after 8 o’clock I don’t have a problem,” Gosselin said. “I don’t think food trucks are that big a deal, but I also don’t believe that it is buying local. We should support establishments that have local employees and spend their money here in town. It waters down the customer pool, but it is free enterprise, and there is plenty of opportunity for all of us.”

    Jeff Smith, co-owner of The Black Chicken, said he had a few issues with the ordinance when he initially read about it and brought them forward to be addressed. He said that although he personally isn’t in favor of allowing food trucks, he believes the city and planning board took small business owners’ concerns into consideration.

    “When I first heard about the ordinance and read it over, I spoke with other business owners and encouraged them to attend the planning board meeting to discuss it,” Smith said. “My concern was making sure nothing detracted from the quality of uptown and how it might hurt the restaurants.”

    Smith said he had several conversations with the city planners to adjust the food truck ordinance to make it as fair as possible to existing restaurants.

    “The city was very open to listening to my concerns,” Smith said. “They had to have some kind of rule, and I believe Josh (Monk) worked very hard to put something together and was willing to compromise.”

    Richard Jones, co-owner of Sweet Peas, said he doesn’t necessarily oppose the new ordinance, he just isn’t sure how much of a need there is for food trucks in the area.

    “I was a bit taken aback when I first heard about it because I couldn’t understand why this would be important in Lexington,” Jones said. “The times they are open is still a concern to me. It could be successful late night, but I don’t know if there is that much of a demand. It will prove itself over time.”

    Jones said he was also pleased with the cooperation he received from the City of Lexington and the Lexington Planning Board.

    “I went to the commission hearing and was given an opportunity to speak,” Jones said. “The planning office listened and incorporated a lot of what we voiced into the ordinance. I appreciate their openness towards business owners.”

    The one thing Monk wants to stress is this ordinance is not to harm existing establishments. He said his office, as well as the planning and zoning board, went to great lengths to obtain feedback from businesses to make sure they were comfortable with the concept.

    “We have worked so hard to get Main Street to the point it is now, the last thing we want is another empty storefront,” Monk said. “If we see that it is having a negative impact on existing businesses, we can adjust it at anytime.”

    According to the ordinance, all food trucks must be 150 feet away from any restaurant, and they are prohibited from parking on North and South Main streets. They are also strictly regulated as any other brick and mortar restaurant, including being permitted through the Davidson County Health Department.

    Ordinance requires strict rules and regulations

    Food trucks were previously allowed within the city through a special-use permit, which is limited to a certain time frame and is associated with a specific event. The new ordinance allows food trucks to operate throughout the year.

    One stipulation is these trucks must have a base commercial kitchen where food is prepared in advance, which is also regulated by the local county health department. Truck operators are allowed to cook food on the truck, but activities such a processing raw meats or chopping vegetables must be done in advance. Operators are also responsible for disposing of all trash associated with the operation of the food truck.

    Food trucks, within the allowed locations, can operate between 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. If located within 150 feet of a single-family house, the hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The trucks also must be removed after they close and cannot be stored, parked or left overnight on any public street or sidewalk.

    Monk said it is important to define what is considered a food truck. According to the ordinance, a food truck is a licensed, motorized vehicle or mobile food unit that is permitted through a county health department, works out of a base commercial kitchen, and where food items are prepared and sold to the general public. This excludes mobile food units and trucks that either are not required to obtain a permit from the county health department or are permitted solely for pre-packaged food sales.

    Trailers that sell pre-packed goods such as cotton candy, candy apples and funnel cakes are not considered food trucks and therefore are not permitted unless approved through a special-use permit. Hot dog carts will not be affected by the new ordinance because they are already permitted through the land use ordinance.

    The only other major stipulation in the permitting of food trucks is that they don’t interfere with any special events, specifically the Barbecue Festival and the BBQ Capital Cook-off. They can acquire a special-use permit in addition to their annual permit if they wish to participate in these events, but otherwise they must be located 150 feet away from the perimeter of any special event.

    “That was a caveat before we even began,” Monk said. “We want to protect those festivals because they have done a lot for Lexington.”

    Monk said having a special event centered around food trucks, called a “rodeo,” would be a fun way to introduce people to the concept of food trucks because many people still think of the old “lunch trucks” that used to service factories.

    “Lots of people seem to be excited because they have experienced them in other cities, but many people don’t know much about them,” Monk said. “People have an idea they are those old greasy burger trucks, but that is not what we are talking about. It may take some time for people to adjust to the idea, but I think there is a demand.”

    Monk said the concept behind amending the land use ordinance to allow food trucks was to bring variety to Lexington, which is something many citizens have said they wanted to see.

    “We are trying to listen to what people said they wanted,” he said. “It was a long thought out process, and we worked hard to develop something that would work for everyone. It was give and take on both sides, but I believe it provides some variety to what we currently have in the city.”

    Sharon Myers can be reached at 249-3981, ext, 228 or at sharon.myers@the-dispatch.com. Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM

    Recommended Reading

    Feb 8, 2014
    Kim Rivers

    Food Truck & Craft Beer Rally, L.I.T. Digital Art Show Coming in February & March

    HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Downtown Huntsville, Inc. CEO Chad Emerson stopped by WHNT News 19 on February 6 to talk about a couple of upcoming events in downtown Huntsville.

    Emerson first talked about the All American Food Truck Craft Beer Rally, an event that will feature food trucks and craft brewers from around Huntsville to be held on Feb. 19 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in the parking Lot outside Propst Arena at the VBC.

    Emerson said he hopes this even will bring locals out to downtown in addition to having an event for the AUSA attendees that will be in town for their conference being held at the VBC to enjoy.

    There will also be trolleys after the event to take people to different bars and restaurants downtown that sell the craft beer that will be featured at this event.

    LIT Poster Digital

    (Click for larger image)

    The next event Emerson shared was the LIT: Light+Innovation+Technology digital art show that will be on the buildings around the Westside Courthouse Square on March 8 from 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

    Emerson said the UAH College of Liberal Arts and The Arts Council Article collaborated with Downtown Huntsville, Inc.to show downtown in a different light using technology in a way that people haven’t seen before in downtown Huntsville.

    Recommended Reading

    About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Service