Browsing articles in "food trucks"
Feb 12, 2014
Kim Rivers

Eden Prairie may launch good-for-you food truck

Mark Reilly
Managing Editor- Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

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The city of Eden Prairie may get into the food-truck business.

Officials are considering a proposal to launch a mobile concession business under its “Live Well, Eden Prairie” wellness program. The food truck would focus on freshly-cooked, healthy food that could cruise city parks and outdoor events.

Sun Newspapers first reported the plan last month; the Star Tribune this week has an update, along with some ballpark costs for the truck: $50,000 to $60,000, which backers hope could be offset by advertising and fundraising.

Related: How to Launch a Food Truck

That figure’s on the low side for food-truck startup costs, at least for some of the recent arrivals in downtown Minneapolis. But a city-owned one might not need the high-end design features that some of the private-sector trucks have.

Mark Reilly manages daily and weekly coverage at the Business Journal newsroom.

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Feb 12, 2014
Kim Rivers

St. Louis Food Truck Association Plans Food Truck Friday-Type Event for …

chachachowfoodtruckassoc.jpg       Tacos at Cha Cha Chow, our pick for the best food truck of 2013. | Jennifer Silverberg

Food Truck Fridays in Tower Grove have become a summer institution in St. Louis. What started in 2011 with just sixteen trucks and the help of Sauce Magazine has grown into an event that attracts thousands of people and delicious eats. More trucks are hitting the roads every year — there are currently 40 registered with the city of St. Louis — to match the demand.

See also: The Final Food Truck Friday of 2013

The St. Louis Food Truck Association is working to bring an alternate event to Food Truck Friday to downtown beginning this spring. We spoke to STLFTA president (and owner of Yo! Salsa food truck) John Lutgen about the ambitious plan and why it’s needed.

“We’re all independent business owners — one day a month isn’t enough to pay the bills,” Lutgen says. “So we’re looking at other avenues that we can export our business into rather than just setting up at Citygarden and selling lunch at Wells Fargo.”

With the help of Mayor Francis Slay’s office, Lutgen is working out a spot at Soldiers’ Memorial (Fourteenth and Chestnut streets) downtown on Thursday nights once a month, beginning in May.

“It’s just to promote the food trucks, promote downtown St. Louis and show it off. The food-truck culture in St. Louis is really growing,” Lutgen says. “For a city our size, it’s pretty incredible.” Lutgen says there are many events, like movie nights at the Saint Louis Art Museum and outdoor concerts in Chesterfield that have proven to be great venues for food trucks. But for many of those, including Food Truck Friday, the trucks themselves or the STLFTA have no say in who participates — SLAM or Sauce or whoever’s organizing it does.

Lutgen also says that many food-truck owners have been dismayed that the fee to participate in Food Truck Fridays this summer has gone up to $425 from last year’s $275. “There’s a percentage of trucks that that doesn’t work in their business model, especially the dessert trucks. They don’t generate the revenue to justify that expense,” he says.

Although the city has been helping coordinate it doesn’t plan events, and there’s no budget for it even if the city did. Slay’s scheduler Josh Weise is the point man on food-truck issues in the city, so he’s been working with Lutgen.

Sauce was the one that put this on the map. They busted their hump and got this all done. This is an overflow idea,” Weise says. “Don’t think of them as competing — think of it as small businesses being out there. It’s not a rivalry.”

Lutgen says the STLFTA is looking for sponsorship, and anyone interested should contact a member of the board. “It’s another avenue for us to promote what we do and who we are,” he says. “We’ve got some great trucks — 31 members that have a lot of really great products.”

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at or follow her on Twitter.

Location Info



Soldiers Memorial Plaza

14th St. and Chestnut St., St. Louis, MO

Category: General

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Feb 12, 2014
Kim Rivers

Lazy Dog’s Valentine specials offered all weekend, food truck and wine pairing … – Long Beach Press

Today is Valentine’s Day, the day many couples spend the evening out for a nice, romantic dinner.

Of course, it seems like everyone has the same idea and the interminable wait for a table can ruin any romantic intentions.

But one restaurant chain has come to the rescue.

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar’s Valentine’s Day specials last all weekend.

Through Sunday, guests can indulge in shrimp and blue crab ravioli (with champagne citrus cream sauce, tomatoes, romano cheese and micro mirepoix greens) or Dijon mint-crusted rack of lamb (with roasted red pepper polenta cakes, ratatouille and marsala sauce), while sipping some sparkling strawberry sangria (Freixenet sparkling wine, fresh strawberries, orange, lemon and lime).

For dessert, the chain is offering a homemade strawberry cheesecake jar, with graham cracker crumble and fresh strawberry compote.

Then beginning on Monday, the chain plans to bring back its popular Girl Scout Thin Mint milkshake. For every shake the chain sells, it will donate $1 to local Girl Scout troops.

The shake, made with vanilla bean ice cream blended with Thin Mint cookies and topped with whipped cream, will be available through March 27.

You might remember when we told you about Panera Bread’s not-so-secret “hidden menu” of low-carb salads, bowls and lettuce wraps.

Well, two of those items — the Power breakfast egg white bowl with roasted turkey and the Power chicken hummus bowl — have gone above board.

The two entrées have been added, along with three other new items, to Panera’s regular menu.

Here’s a look at the new additions:

Power breakfast egg white bowl with roasted turkey: Roasted turkey, egg whites, warm baby spinach, roasted peppers and basil pesto.

Power chicken hummus bowl: Chicken with cilantro jalapeño hummus, baby spinach, cucumbers, diced tomatoes and red onions, and finished with fresh-squeezed lemon and fresh-chopped cilantro.

Mediterranean shrimp couscous salad: Baby spinach and romaine lettuce tossed with low-fat Meyer lemon balsamic vinaigrette and Panera’s signature couscous blend, topped with shrimp, feta, kalamata olives and roasted tomatoes.

All-natural turkey chili soup: A blend of ground and pulled, dark, roasted turkey, garbanzo, kidney beans, slow cooked with tomatillos, corn, pasilla negro and ancho chili powders, cumin, edamame, diced onions, carrots, garlic and green chilies. (The chili is offered as a “You Pick Two” option, paired with the spinach Power salad.)

Low-Fat B-Green Power smoothie: A blend of fruit and vegetable purees, juice and concentrates and one whole banana, blended with ice.

And finally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a food truck wine pairing, but one is happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at San Antonio Winery, 2802 S. Milliken Ave., Ontario.

The winery will be hosting the Bacon MANia truck and has put together a bacon/wine pairing menu.

Entrées, as well as wine by the glass, soft drinks and water can be purchased during the event.

John Plessel is Systems Editor for the San Bernardino Sun and also blogs for Dine 909. Visit the blog at or email Dine 909 at

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Feb 11, 2014
Kim Rivers

February 10-16 Food Truck News and Schedule for Dallas


Highlight Event of the Week: Pompeii Movie / Friday Night at the Truck Yard

This coming Friday, February 14 (that’s Valentine’s Day for the calendar-challenged), Pompeii DFW Food Truck, The Truck Yard, and the upcoming Pompeii Movie are hosting an event to promote the movie.  Pompeii DFW Truck will be there from 11am to 9pm.   Free movie passes will be passed out beginning at 6pm for an upcoming showing.

Here’s your schedule for the week.  Remember that when it is miserably cold, many trucks will cancel without much warning.


TuesdayTuesday LunchTuesday Dinner
TuesdayBombay Street Foodtbd
TuesdayCajun TailgatorsThe Porch@ Watermark Church 7540 JBJ Frwy 6-9:30
TuesdayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-DarkKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-Dark
TuesdayEasy SliderSMU Flagpole 11a-1:30p
TuesdayEat Jo DawgsTruck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206
TuesdayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
TuesdayGandolfo’s #214001 N Dallas parkway, 11-23701 grapevine mills parkway, grapevine 5-9
TuesdayJack’s ChowhoundBent Tree 17300 Dallas North Tollway Dallas Tx – 11am- 1:30 pm
TuesdayPompeii Truck Yard 5624 Sears St 11-9Truck Yard 5624 Sears St 11-9
TuesdayRockn’ Rick’sAddison One 15601 Dallas Prkwy Addison TX (11-2PM)Windy Lane and FM 741 Forney TX (5-730PM)
TuesdayRuthie’s Grilled Cheese3811 Turtle Creek4755 Gramercy Oaks Drive
TuesdaySimply DosaDallas Art District
TuesdayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
TuesdayTBS 2Trinity Industries 11-27540 LBJ fwy Dallas. 5:30-9:30
TuesdayTutta’s PizzaThe Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas 11-9The Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas 11-9
TuesdayWhats Cook-N Chef11-2 Thistle Hill @ 1509 Pennsylvania Ave, FW
TuesdayWhat’s Da ScoopKlyde Warren Park 11-9
WednesdayWednesday LunchWednesday Dinner
WednesdayBombay Street Foodtbd
WednesdayCajun TailgatorsTBD
WednesdayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-3pKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-3p
WednesdayEasy SliderDallas Arts District (2403 Flora) 11a-2pSigels (5757 Greenville) 5p-8p
WednesdayEasy Slider2900 W Plano Pkwy 11a-1:30p
WednesdayEat Jo DawgsTruck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206Sigels – 5757 Greenville Ave. Dallas
WednesdayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
WednesdayGandolfo’s #2Stevens Transport
WednesdayJack’s ChowhoundIrving building -105 Decker Irving Tx -11am-1:30pm
WednesdayNammi #1Dallas Arts District, 11am-1:30pm
WednesdayNammi #2Truck Yard 11-3pm
WednesdayParrotIcceSMU Flag Pole (11:00am to 2:00pm) 6425 Boaz Lane
WednesdayPompeii Pompeii movie screening AMC Northpark 7:30
WednesdayRockn’ Rick’sAafees Nat’l HQ 6950 Walton Walker Dallas (11-2PM)TBD
WednesdayRuthies CreperieKlyde Warren PArk
WednesdayRuthie’s Grilled CheeseSPCA – 2400 Lone Star Dr
WednesdaySimply Dosatbd
WednesdayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
WednesdayTBS 23811 Turtle Creek, 11-2
WednesdayWhat’s Da ScoopKlyde Warren Park 11-9
ThursdayThursday LunchThursday Dinner
ThursdayBombay Street Foodtbd
ThursdayCajun Tailgators3890 W. Northwest Highway 11:30-2Gramercy Apts 4755 Gramercy Oaks 5-8
ThursdayCoolHausKlyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
ThursdayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-9pKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-9p
ThursdayEasy Slider3811 Turtle Creek Blvd 11a-1:30pDear Clark Salon Anniversary Party (3317 McKinney) 6:30p-9p
ThursdayEasy SliderStevens Transport 11a-1:30p
ThursdayEat Jo DawgsArts District – Dallas 11am – 2pmTruck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206
ThursdayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
ThursdayGandolfo’s #26011 connection drive, Irving 11-2
ThursdayJack’s ChowhoundFellowship Church – 2450 Highway 121 Grapevine Tx 11 am-1:30 pmFellowship Church – 2450 Highway 121 Grapevine Tx 5pm-7pm
ThursdayNammi #1Dallas Klyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
ThursdayNammi #2SMU at the flagpole, 11am-1:30pm
ThursdayPompeii Dallas Arts District 2300 Flora Ave 11-2
ThursdayRockn’ Rick’sMARC Group 7850 N Beltline Irving TX (11-2PM)Windy Lane and FM 741 Forney TX (5-730PM)
ThursdayRuthies CreperieKlyde Warren PArk
ThursdayRuthie’s Grilled CheeseTruck Yard
ThursdaySimply Dosatbd
ThursdayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
ThursdayTBS 216775 Addison road, Addison 11-24755 Gramercy Oaks Drive, Dallas 5-9
ThursdayTrailercakesKlyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
ThursdayTutta’s PizzaFellowship Church Conference – 2450 N Hwy 121, Grapevine 11:30-1Fellowship Church Conference – 2450 N Hwy 121, Grapevine 5-6:30
ThursdayWhats Cook-N Chef11-2 Thistle Hill @ 1509 Pennsylvania Ave, FW
ThursdayWhat’s Da Scoop6011 connection drive, Irving 11-2
FridayFriday LunchFriday Dinner
FridayBombay Street Foodtbd
FridayCajun TailgatorsTBDTBD
FridayCoolHausKlyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
FridayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-7pKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-7p
FridayEasy SliderSMU Flagpole 11a-1:30p
FridayEasy SliderThe Truck Yard (5624 Sears) 11a-9pThe Truck Yard (5624 Sears) 11a-9p
FridayEat Jo DawgsPrivate Lunch 11am – 2pm
FridayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
FridayGandolfo’s #28 Camus cir, west lake 11-2Dallas Eagle Bar 10pm-230am
FridayJack’s Chowhound96 Winery Wylie Tx – 7pm-10pm
FridayNammi #1Dallas Klyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
FridayNammi #2Dallas Arts District, 11am-1:30pm
FridayPompeii Truck Yard 5624 Sears St 11-9Truck Yard 5624 sears st 11-9 PROMO EVENT AT 6 w/ free screening passes for Pompeii Movie 2/17/14
FridayRockn’ Rick’sDallas Arts District 2300 Flora Dallas TX (11-2PM)TBD
FridayRuthies Creperieprivate lunch
FridayRuthie’s Grilled CheeseKlyde Warren ParkKlyde Warren Park
FridayRuthie’s TooSMU FlagpolePrivate Party
FridaySimply DosaTruck Yard 5624 Sears St, DallasTruck Yard 5624 Sears St, Dallas
FridayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, Dallas
FridayTBS 2600 e john carpenter fwy, Dallas 11-2
FridayTrailercakesKlyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
FridayTutta’s PizzaFellowship Church Conference – 2450 N Hwy 121, Grapevine 11:30-1Fellowship Church Conference – 2450 N Hwy 121, Grapevine 5-6:30
FridayWhats Cook-N Chef11-9 Clear Fork Food Park @ 1541 Merrimac Cir, FW11-9 Clear Fork Food Park @ 1541 Merrimac Cir, FW
FridayWhat’s Da ScoopSMU
SaturdaySaturday LunchSaturday Dinner
SaturdayBombay Street Foodtbd
SaturdayCajun TailgatorsPrivate EventTBD
SaturdayCoolHausKlyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
SaturdayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-8pKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-8p
SaturdayEasy SliderDeep Ellum Brewery 12p-3p
SaturdayEasy SliderPrivate Event
SaturdayEat Jo DawgsTruck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas, Texas 75206
SaturdayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SaturdayGandolfo’s #2Mardis Gras Party 11-5
SaturdayJack’s Chowhoundtbd
SaturdayNammi #1Dallas Klyde Warren Park 11am-8pm
SaturdayNammi #2Truck Yard 11-9pm
SaturdayRockn’ Rick’sTBDTBD
SaturdayRuthies Creperie3400 Lombardy Laneprivate
SaturdayRuthie’s Grilled Cheeseprivateprivate dinner
SaturdayRuthie’s TooKlyde Warren ParkPrivate
SaturdayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SaturdayTBS 2Mardis Gras party 11-5
SaturdayTrailercakesKlyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SaturdayTutta’s PizzaThe Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas 11-9The Truck Yard – 5624 Sears St, Dallas 11-9
SaturdayWhats Cook-N Chef11-9 Clear Fork Food Park @ 1541 Merrimac Cir, FW11-9 Clear Fork Food Park @ 1541 Merrimac Cir, FW
SaturdayWhat’s Da ScoopMardis Gras Party 11-5
SundaySunday LunchSunday Dinner
SundayBombay Street FoodTruck Yard 5624 Sears St, DallasTruck Yard 5624 Sears St, Dallas
SundayCoolHausKlyde Warren Park 11am-4pm
SundayCrazy FishKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-8pKlyde Warren Park 1909 Woodall Rodgers Fwy # 560, Dallas 11a-8p
SundayEat Jo DawgsTBD
SundayGandolfo’s #1Klyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SundayGandolfo’s #2Private Event
SundayJack’s Chowhoundtbd
SundayNammi #1Dallas Klyde Warren Park 11am-6pm
SundayPompeii Truck Yard 5624 Sears St 11am-9pmTruck Yard 5624 Sears St 11am-9pm
SundayRockn’ Rick’sTBDTBD
SundayRuthie’s Grilled CheeseKlyde Warren Park
SundayRuthie’s TooTruck YardTruck Yard
SundaySimply Dosatbd
SundayTBS 1Klyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SundayTBS 2Private Event
SundayTrailercakesKlyde Warren Park, DallasKlyde Warren Park, Dallas
SundayWhats Cook-N Chef11-8 Ft Worth Food Park @ 2509 Weisenberger, FW11-8 Ft Worth Food Park @ 2509 Weisenberger, FW
SundayWhat’s Da ScoopPrivate party

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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

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
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,
call her at 919-610-9049, and follow her on Twitter

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Feb 11, 2014
Kim Rivers

Eden Prairie proposes Live Well food truck



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    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.

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    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

    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.



    Food and Drink

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    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.

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    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?

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