Browsing articles tagged with " Food Trucks"
Nov 29, 2013
Jim Benson

York City Council considers increasing number of food-vendor cart licenses

York City Council is considering a proposal to relax the city’s stringent mobile food cart licensing ordinance — a move that would allow more vendors back onto Continental Square and surrounding streets.

At a work session Tuesday night, Councilman Henry Nixon introduced legislation that would increase the number of licenses to six and abolish the lottery system used to award licenses.

The proposed ordinance also would extend the food cart zone to Codorus Creek and require that carts be set 200 feet away from each other.

The city has limited the number of food-vendor carts to one since 2011, and that license has been held by hot dog vendor Darren Borodin for several years. Still, Borodin could lose his spot — through no fault of his own, Nixon said — if more vendors apply for the license in 2014 and Borodin’s name isn’t chosen.

Officials clamped down on the practice after fielding complaints about litter and threats to revenue at brick-and-mortar establishments. But Nixon said there is a call for more lunchtime options from downtown workers. And, he said, the system is inequitable.

Borodin, who attended the meeting, requested council members act now to remedy the lottery situation by making “a smaller dent into the existing ordinance to focus on the renewal of the lottery process.”

A lengthy discussion on the proposed changes showed the original concerns that led to the increased regulation are still at play, however.

“You’re really undercutting the fair field “¦ of the bricks and mortar,” Councilman Michael Helfrich said. Food cart vendors have access to “prime real estate” on Continental Square for dollars a day, whereas restaurants are dealing with rent and overhead that drive their operating costs much higher, he said.

“There are smaller businesses that we are trying to encourage,” he said.

Sonja Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, said that while she agrees that the downtown is in a “vulnerable” position right now, the carts could act as incubators and grow into a storefront.

A food cart committee, which is included in the ordinance, would help to ensure the number of carts doesn’t outpace the demand for eateries, she said.

Despite the hesitation from some members, a sense of urgency helped move the proposal forward.

“It was a concern of mine that we deal with this alone right now” to avert a situation where chance puts Borodin out of work, Nixon said.

Council will vote on the ordinance Dec. 17.


· Food truck party sparks debate about city ordinance
· York food cart story gets happy ending

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Nov 29, 2013
Kim Rivers

DC food truck lottery system to start Monday

WASHINGTON (AP) — After years of parking where they choose, food truck operators in the District of Columbia are preparing to have their spaces assigned by lottery.

District officials say the lottery will bring “predictability and certainty” to the city’s food truck scene.

The lottery system starts Monday. Participating trucks have been assigned spaces for their exclusive use every weekday. They’ll get to park in the spaces for four hours.

The spaces assigned by lottery are located in spots where trucks tend to congregate to serve the lunch crowd, including Franklin Park, Farragut Square, L’Enfant Plaza and Metro Center.

Trucks that don’t participate in the lottery can still sell food on district streets, but they have to stay at least 200 feet away from the designated locations and pay parking meter fees.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Nov 28, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food Truck Stops: November 27

Happy Wednesday, food truck followers! Most of the trucks have taken off for Thanksgiving, but you can still find specials such as lobster bisque from Capital Kabobs, free eggs with your meal at Fire Rice if you follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and pumpkin-pecan “mufferoons” from Captain CookieGrab a bite, enjoy your Thanksgiving break, and travel safely for those leaving DC. 

L’Enfant (Sixth St. and Maryland Ave., SW), where you’ll find Amorini Panini and Pho Junkies.

Metro Center (12th and G sts., NW), where you’ll find DC Doner, Jerk Chicken FestivalFire RiceSteak Bites, and Yellow Vendor.

Montgomery County, where you’ll find Holy Crepes (Silver Spring).

Navy Yard (First and M sts., SE), where you’ll find Halal Grill, Pars Kabob, and Steak Bites.

Northern Virginia, where you’ll find Capital Kabobs, Curly’s Q, Rio Churrasco (Tysons), and Urban Bumpkin (Rosslyn).

State Department (around 21st St. and Virginia Ave., NW), where you’ll find Captain Cookie.

Union Station (North Capitol St. and Massachusetts Ave., NE), where you’ll find Captain Cookie, Fresh Green Food, and Kimchi BBQ Taco.

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Nov 28, 2013
Kim Rivers

Food truck rallies kicked out of downtown

Synergy Incubators Inc. will no longer hold food truck rallies in downtown Dayton near the Oregon District and must leave the space it now leases from the city.

In a letter dated Nov. 26, the city declined to renew its temporary lease of city-owned property at 200 S. Jefferson St. to Synergy for the organization’s rallies and kitchen.

“The current temporary agreement ends in just a few days. The city understands that Synergy will need a period of time to gather materials to vacate the premises. Synergy will have until the close of business on December 31, 2013 to vacate the property,” a letter to Synergy co-founder Tonia Fish from Dayton Recreation and Youth Services Director Joe Parlette says. “Synergy does not have the authority to hold events during this timeframe.”

Lisa Grigsby, a Synergy board member, said the organization is looking for a new home and that new location will likely be in the suburbs.

“We really wanted to do it in the city of Dayton, but they strung us along and strung us along,” she said. “(There’s been) no answer, no explanation. “You are just not getting a lease.”

City spokesman Tom Biedenharn said Wednesday that opposition from competing businesses was one factor, but not the only one. The city does not have another user already lined up for the site.

“The city administration believed the financial plan Synergy submitted was not sufficient to sustain long-term operations at the site,” Biedenharn said. “That, coupled with opposition we heard from other surrounding businesses about the impact of Synergy’s proposal, led us to decline an extension of the current lease. We will continue to aggressively market the site for future development.”

Parlette’s letter said the value of the work that Synergy and its volunteers put into the property exceeds the amount currently owed for rent and utilities, so the city will not pursue those funds.

Built as a nonprofit aimed at offering certified commercial kitchen support services and programs, Synergy has held five parking lot food truck rallies since first leasing the former site of Sa-Bai Asian Cuisine Sushi Bar in July. Grisby said they have drawn a total of 12,000 people.

Fish said there is a need for the services Synergy provides.

“We can’t waste time getting upset,” Fish said. “We’ve got to work our community connections and find a new space as quickly as we can. People are depending on us.”

Michael Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, said there have been several conversations between the city, the Downtown Dayton Partnership and business owners about the food truck rallies’ impact on businesses.

Grisby and Fish contend that rallies create a sense of excitement that draw people to the Oregon District, where rally participants patronize district businesses. Martin says that has not been the case.

“A lot of people come specifically for that (the food truck rallies) and then they go home,” he said. “While no one has an issue with Synergy’s kitchens, the rallies take customers from businesses that pay property taxes and make (permanent) investments.”

Those businesses also pay a special district fee used to support the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Food trucks are essentially getting the benefits of being in the district free of charge, Martin said.

Martin said it is also a matter of fairness. Synergy’s lease was for $800 a month, he said, below market value.

“You and I are underwriting them to be in there,” he said.

Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said there were strong, opposing opinions about the impact of food trucks on existing businesses.

“We were asked (by the city) to gather information on what the existing businesses’ thoughts were on the food trucks,” Gudorf said. “We had a significant number of businesses and property owners who said we love the notion of the incubator, but that the food trucks were just too close (to their site).”

Gudorf said location is a key issue. Both existing restaurants and food trucks want to be near highly populated areas.

“The city has specific locations where food trucks are allowed,” she said. “If you look at other cities, you tend to find locations that aren’t right next to your entertainment district or a cluster of restaurants.”

Current city regulations on food truck sales follow two tracks. Food truck sales can happen on private property, as long as city zoning and building regulations are followed.

But for sales on downtown streets, there are two designated areas — East Second Street between Jefferson and St. Clair, and West Third Street near Sinclair and the county administration building.

Synergy provided the city with a petition of support with the signatures of 28 downtown business owners or employees as well as several letters of support.

Emily Mendenhall and her father, Bob, of Lily’s Bistro and Blind Bob’s bar and grill in the Oregon District, signed letters. Emily Mendenhall said she likes that Synergy provided education and kitchen space that supports entrepreneurs’ small business.

She said she personally likes to eat at food trucks, but does not know enough about the impact they truly have on brick and mortar eateries.

“I think on some nights it did (take customers away), but on some it brought us customers,” she said.

Jesy Anderson, co-owner of Sew Dayton, a sewing store, said she supports food trucks and the vibrancy they bring.

“They bring a whole different clientele downtown,” she said. “I wish more people would stand up for the food trucks and what they do. They don’t take away from any of the other businesses downtown. It is grab and go food. It is not sit down and eat.”

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Nov 28, 2013
Tim Lester

Big haul for Flint Street Food Bank


Al Hooks and Fatima Treuer drum up support for the Flint Street Food Bank at last week’s fundraiser. Held at the Cathouse Lounge/Pied Piper Pub, the event brought in $7,000 in cash plus credit card donations yet to be counted. Outside, people filled a limo with food, which when delivered filled 50 to 60 large boxes, food bank manager Pat Costner said. Her one-word response: “Fantastic.”

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Nov 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Froyo Truck Coming to the Upstate

What do you get when you mix frozen yogurt with a food truck?

Dipali and Adam Britton have the answer – the Sweetly Twisted frozen yogurt truck. The latest food truck to hit the local scene, Sweetly Twisted will take the popular self-serve froyo concept to the streets today.

“Food trucks are really the new trend, and with Downtown just launching the permit to allow food trucks, we were like this is awesome,” says Dipali Britton, a Greenville native and Clemson alum. “And the coolest part is we go to places. And who doesn’t love dessert?”

The idea is the same as in a store, says Dipali. You get your cup, pay and then go to town. The truck will offer six rotating flavors and almost 50 toppings including candy bar bits, sprinkles, fruit, nuts and fudge.

Dipali got the idea for a froyo truck on a trip to Florida earlier this year. The sweets lover had toyed with the idea of expanding her franchise arm – she owns two Subway franchises in Spartanburg – with a frozen yogurt shop, but couldn’t decide. The truck, she says was the perfect vehicle (pun intended) to mix her passion for business and innovation.

“People love yogurt and we wanted to keep the novelty part of it – the self serve part,” she says. So we are very excited about it.”

For the time being, Sweetly Twisted will focus mostly on special event appearances. The truck makes its Greenville debut at the Indie Craft Holiday Fair Dec. 7, but Dipali has plans for a regular schedule downtown soon.

The cost per cup will depend on weight, but cost per ounce will be 60 cents.

You can check out more beginning Nov. 26 at or follow Sweetly Twisted on Twitter at @stfroyotruck

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Nov 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Inspectors planning to better regulate food trucks

Food trucks have grown in popularity these last few years and now county health inspectors are looking at better ways to crack down on rogue operators.

With these trucks roaming from place to place, even from county to county, it can be difficult for inspectors to keep track of them. That’s raising concerns about some of the food they sell.

Mike and Daniella Patterson toast each other with the glasses they gave their wedding guests this past summer. Their reception was set in a beautiful backyard at their suburban Bay Area home. Everything was perfect except one important thing.

“I had to apologize repeatedly to our guests,” said newlywed Mike Patterson.

The food truck they hired to cater their wedding didn’t show up on time.

“Went on to our first dance and the hours went on and the food truck wasn’t there,” said newlywed Daniella Patterson.

The contract the couple signed with Gourmet Rockstars stipulates the company was supposed to begin set up at 5 p.m. Daniella says the truck finally showed up nearly five hours late.

That doesn’t surprise the Alameda County Environmental Health Department. The department has been after the company for two years.

“In the case of Gourmet Rockstars, we have no idea where they are getting their food from, what kind of preparation they’re doing, how they’re treating the equipment on the vehicle,” said Don Atkinson-Adams of the Alameda County Environmental Health Department.

The county ordered the food truck closed in 2011 for, “Failure to obtain a valid health permit,” and for, “Operating with imminent health hazards.”

Violations included not having hot water for hand or utensil washing and inspectors also found ground beef sitting on a steam table at 63 degrees. The proper temperature is below 41 degrees for cold food and above 135 degrees for hot food.

“We’ve had reports of them operating, we’ve not been able to actually catch them in the field,” said Atkinson-Adams.

Mohammed Qadir of Gourmet Rockstars told 7 On Your Side by phone that the company is no longer in business.

He says it shut down a year ago, but only agreed to cater the Patterson wedding as a favor to a friend. He also says the contract didn’t call for dinner to begin until 9 p.m. The contract did not specify the dinner time, only that the event was to be held from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Qadir declined an on camera interview.

The problem of unlicensed food truck operators is more common than inspectors would like.

Imelda Reyes is with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

“There is a lot of illegal food vendors out there,” she said.

Health inspectors from around the Bay Area have been meeting to discuss ways to better keep track of vendors.

Alameda County is implementing the most aggressive program in the Bay Area. It’s been holding informational meetings to inform operators of the new policies. The new guidelines include a green, yellow and red scoring system which must be posted on the food truck.

Green means the truck passed its health inspection. Yellow means the truck passed with conditions. Red means the truck failed its inspection and has been closed.

Alameda County will become the only Bay Area county to require the scores to be posted.

“And as a consumer when you walk up, you have a little more confidence that that truck operates well, as far as food safety,” said Atkinson-Adams

Adriana Rico operates the Tala Taco and Burritos truck in Oakland. Her truck passed inspection. She personally recalls an unpermitted food truck making a construction crew it served sick.

“The next day about 10 of the guys didn’t show up because they had stomach, they’re stomach was upset. So there is a lot of those trucks that are out there that don’t keep up to code,” said Rios.

Eric Rivera, who runs a Puerto Rican food truck, that also passed inspection, in Alameda, agrees more needs to be done.

“They obviously want to make it to where these food trucks are no longer the roach coaches that people would call them,” he said.

Alameda County plans to implement its new rules in six months. Meanwhile, the counties continue to meet with each other in a bid to better keep track of food trucks that consistently move around.

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Nov 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

Popular food truck making the leap to campus-area restaurant

As competition heats up in Albuquerque's food truck scene, the partners in the popular Torpedo Dog food truck plan to open a restaurant on Harvard Drive NE.

As competition heats up in Albuquerque’s food truck scene, the partners in the popular Torpedo Dog food truck plan to open a restaurant on Harvard Drive NE.

Dan Mayfield
Reporter- Albuquerque Business First

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After two years of cruising the streets of Albuquerque, the Torpedo Dog food truck will soon have a brick-and-mortar home on Harvard Drive Northeast.

The partners in Torpedo Dog, who make a special hot dog with the sausage stuffed in a fresh loaf of bread and smothered in a variety of sauces, plan to open in the location by Jan. 15, said partner Damian Montoya.

“We found that food trucking sucks. Albuquerque isn’t a condensed metropolis, and you don’t have a mass amount of people in one location, and you’re competing with so many people. There’s almost 150 trucks now,” Montoya said. “At first we were nervous about opening a brick and mortar, but we found that we had to do something horribly wrong not to break even.”

The Torpedo Dog truck has specialized in special events, Montoya said, but a brick-and-mortar spot will give the company a bit more stability in a neighborhood that is becoming known for its culinary variety. The space, at 115 Harvard, was formerly a taco restaurant.

But fans of the Torpedo Dog truck don’t have to fret: The company will keep the truck rolling and will still do special events and corporate orders.

505.348.8308 |
Technology, economic development

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Nov 27, 2013
Jim Benson

Burrasca’s Florentine Cart Cuisine

A good litmus test for gauging food-cart quality boils down to this question: “Would you happily pay twice as much at a bona fide restaurant?” The answer at Burrasca is clear one bite into a $7 bowl of inzimino, an umami-bomb of slow-braised squid in a rich, garlicky sauce of tomato, red wine, and spinach. It’s one of Portland’s best cart dishes and something you’d happily eat at twice the price. 

Inzimino joins a small list of finds at Burrasca, a new Florentine cart parked inside the quiet lot on SE 28th and Ankeny. Here, the food of Tuscany’s capital gets the handcrafted treatment with cart-baked bread and hand-rolled pasta to boot.

As a child, Owner Paolo Calamai spent countless hours in the kitchen watching his mother and grandmother cook through the Florentine canon. Decades later, he returned to his native Florence to work front of the house at Ristorante Cibrèo, one of the city’s most renowned eateries and a legendary foodie haunt. Now 51, Calamai is helping raise Portland’s food cart ambitions with a true taste of Tuscan cooking.

A menu of four Florentine classics rotates with the seasons, with everything—cart-baked loaves of rustic, flakey bread to thick pappardelle—crafted from scratch.

Start with a pitch-perfect ribolita soup ($5): buttery smooth, thick with a strong poultry backbone, and looking celestial with rings of olive oil and a healthy dose of black pepper. Pappardelle al cinghiale ($8) brings silky ribbons of pasta, rich, slow-stewed wild boar and a generous dusting of Parmesan.

If nothing else, come for that inzimino: inky black, singing with intensity, and holding tender rings of squid alongside thick slices of garlic-rubbed, house-baked Tuscan bread.  

“This is only my start,” explains Calamai, who hopes to some day open a fully-fledged brick and mortar. Hand-rolled pasta better than your nonna made it? For $8? Better get it while you still can.

113 SE 28th Avenue
Tues-Sat, 11:30-7pm
Sun, 11:30-3pm

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Nov 27, 2013
Kim Rivers

The Global Warming Diet: Visiting The Future Food Truck


The new art event/food truck Ghost Food is showing diners how they might eat in the future, if global warming causes popular foods to go extinct. (Photo courtesy of Ghost Food.)

On the eve of Thanksgiving weekend, it’s natural to reminisce about our favorite foods as we anticipate eating them yet again. A new art project/food truck spins that idea into the future, imagining what we’d eat if our favorite delicacies were no longer available due to climate change.

Known as Ghost Food, the project’s small white food truck debuted in Philadelphia on Oct. 9 at architecture event Design Philadelphia. The Ghost Food project was sponsored by collaborative ecologically-minded arts organizations STEAMworkPHILLY, and the Marfa Dialogues, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Three foods that face an uncertain future are served at the Ghost Food truck — cod, peanut butter, and cocoa. Except really, none of those foods are present. Instead, a headpiece delivers the smell of the missing foods to diners’ nostrils to help convey the experience of eating these menu items.

“We’re imagining how we will eat these foods in the future,” says Miriam Songster, one of the project’s creators.

Faux food experience
Along with the appropriate scent, patrons are served dishes that merely mimic the popular foods — a “textural substitute” with a similar mouth feel to the missing food. For cod, a vegetable protein and algae is beer-battered and fried, Songster and collaborator Miriam Simun explained.

Sweetened milk delivered along with the scent of chocolate, diners reported, “read very close to experience of drinking chocolate milk,” Songster reports.

Challenged not to use any other nuts or seeds which might also be endangered by global warming, the team created a Ghost Food PB J that uses a combination of oils, sugars and salt to simulate the peanut butter portion, along with the scent of real peanut butter.

The artists discovered smell is a powerful tool in creating the eating experience. Smells brought back memories, and enabled most diners to think they were eating the food they smelled, says Songster, though they actually consumed a substitute.

Presented simply as a food truck, some diners caught on that it was also an art piece — but others didn’t. They simply ate the food and went on their way.

Ideas for restaurant owners
The intent of the project, Songster and Simun say, is to stimulate dialogue about climate change and our food supply. But Ghost Food raises other intriguing questions for restaurauteurs today as well.

How good does your restaurant smell? How could smell be better used to create a more satisfying dining experience?

Also, many restaurants today inform diners about local ingredients and sustainable harvest methods. How could that education inspire action beyond the meal?

Besides Philadelphia, the Ghost Food truck has appeared at The Open Doors Studio Tour in Newark, NJ, and at an opening of The Martha Dialogues in Chelsea, Mass. The artists are looking for more venues where Ghost Food could appear to get diners talking about the foods they love — and whether they’ll be around in the future.

“Some people were really unhappy to think about a world where their grandchildren wouldn’t be able to have a PBJ,” says Songster.

25 Fantastic Food Trucks

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