Wanted: Street Food Vendors
Monday, November 19, 2012
Spring rolls and noodles were on the menu this afternoon as city politicians kicked off the application process for new food trucks in Ottawa.Chef on Wheels, at the corner of Laurier and Elgin, is one of 44 current vendors – the city hopes to add 20 more.
The same old hamburgers and hot dogs need not apply, said Councillor Mark Taylor.
.”We want to make sure we have the most vibrant stuff out there. So it’s going to be a bit of a talent contest as it goes through the competition for these 20 spaces, but we feel confident that we’re going to wind up broadening the uniqueness and diversity that’s on our streets,” said Taylor.
Interested mobile restaurateurs must apply by January 4th, and can get an application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Business License Centre at 735 Industrial Avenue.
A 5 person panel will select the winning entrepreneurs, with the goal of the new vendors opening in the spring.
Food Truck Regulation: What’s Going On Behind the Scenes
Celebrities Pigging Out
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Foodies may welcome food trucks in many cities across South Florida, but they aren’t necessarily welcome in Sunrise because of a city law, a commissioner says.
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A Sunrise city ordinance prohibits any type of outdoor vending, including flowers, newspapers and food, says Sunrise Commissioner Joseph Scuotto. City leaders put the law in effect years ago, when the BankAtlantic Center, now known as the BBT Center, was built.
“We didn’t want to have what other cities around the country have, which is the hot dogs, the pretzels, the arepas, the shirts, the water to be sold all around the arena and the mess that comes after that,” Scuotto said.
Scuotto, a restaurant owner himself, on Sunday said food truck vendors have no base in Sunrise and should not be allowed to just roll in and out. He said food trucks are taking business from local establishments in a weak economy.
Even national food chains pay rent and taxes locally, money that benefits Sunrise, he said. “Here they’re struggling to pay their employees, their rent, their gas, their water and their food bills to allow people to come in and then leave,” Scuotto said.
Food truck operators such as Carlos Fiero say they reach agreements with other cities and gather all the time. Fiero said he thinks it can work for everyone, if done right, starting with a fee to the city.
“Everybody has to be responsible for their own trash, their own pick up,” Fiero said. “If you do something wrong, you’re not invited again. I’m not saying rolling into the city anywhere and just parking and doing your thing and adios.”
Scuotto said the city will discuss the food truck issue at the next City Commission meeting. He said he and other city leaders want to hear from business owners in Sunrise and food truck operators.
Badgers on the Beach is a new food cart currently vending in front of the UW Geology building on West Dayton Street. It’s distinctive, because unlike the other covered trailers, Badgers on the Beach is a traditional shiny steel hot dog cart, “a top-of-the-line American Bulldog model,” assures cart co-owner Ian Peterson. Their sign with their logo, a badger and a palm tree, should be coming soon.
Peterson, 21, and partner Alex Davis, 19, started Badgers on the Beach about four weeks ago. Though the cart is of the typical New York hot dog vendor style, Peterson and Davis are not selling hot dogs, but rather Caribbean-inspired foods.
The two, who are high school friends from their hometown of Eau Claire, were inspired by a Puerto Rican family they know and the foods they’ve shared with them. Peterson’s brother helped with financing, and the inaugural menu items are a pulled pork sandwich ($4, or $6 with rice or chips and a drink), the “Jamaican Me Crazy” black bean chili (which is vegan; $4) and arroz con gandules (rice and beans, also vegan; $3). The chili can be served over rice for an additional $1, or over the pulled pork, also for an additional $1. If you’re looking for a super filling and economical lunch, that would be the combo to pick — lots of tender pork, plenty of chili.
The chili itself comes with some unusual but tasty ingredients, including carrots and potatoes. It’s not very spicy; that can be adjusted to individual taste with bottles of hot sauce available on the cart.
Both are students — Davis is a UW-Madison student majoring in computer science who’s taking the semester off; Peterson attends Madison College, where he is majoring in hotel motel management. He’s also the primary cook.
Despite the Badgers’ lack of cover at the cart, they plan to tough it out through “most weather scenarios” with the possible exception of a rain-snow combo event, says Peterson. They’ll be on West Dayton at 11 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, and are currently looking into the possibility of late night vending at the cul de sac of Frances Street (near State Street Brats). The West Dayton spot is the weekday plan until the next cart changing period in April.
Badgers on the Beach is also available for catering, and is providing updates on its menu via Facebook.
In October, Pittsburgh city council member Bill Peduto
introduced legislation that
would remove restrictions on mobile vending that stifle food
trucks. Designed to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from
competition, Pittsburgh’s current regime is one of the most
restrictive in the nation.
Food trucks are currently prohibited from parking in one spot
for more than 30 minutes, in metered spaces (making most of the
downtown area off limits), and within 500 feet of a restaurant.
Moreover, zoning officials can veto parking on private property,
even if the owner welcomes food trucks.
Pittsburgh City Paper:
At any given point in time, I’m sure no matter what we’re doing,
someone can tell us we’re not allowed to be doing it,” says Tim
Tobitsch, co-owner of the Franktuary Truck, a pioneer in the local
food-truck industry that has sold gourmet hot dogs for about two
Tobitsch and the owners of six other food trucks have joined
together to form the Pittsburgh Mobile Food
Coalition, which is pushing for the legislative change. And,
unlike in other cities, some brick-and-mortar establishments are on
The owners of Bar Marco, a cocktail bar in the Strip District,
invite food trucks to their parking lot for “Food Truck Fridays,”
for instance. Acclaimed restaurateur
Brian Pekarcik, who operates a food truck as well as
traditional restaurants, has presented city council members with a
petition from owners of sit-down restaurants who think that reform
would energize Pittsburgh’s food scene, benefiting not only
consumers and mobile vendors, but also restaurants themselves.
The bill would eliminate the proximity rule, allow food trucks
to park in metered spots, and permit them to stay in one spot for
up to four hours. Further, it would extend business hours on
weekends past closing time for bars. The city council is expected
to act on the measure before the end of the year.
Courtesy of the Institute for Justice,* a libertarian public
interest law firm that advocates against overly burdensome
regulation of food trucks, here are some food truck owners offering
their take on the state of the law:
*Disclosure: I am a former employee of the Institute for
Truck and gourmet, an incongruous combination.
But the trucks that will draw their parking brakes at Wellington’s amphitheater tonight cost as much as a small house to equip.
The village is taking a stab at another social and family geared event in the town center developing near village hall along Forest Hill Boulevard.
This time, with high-end food trucks serving “fancy cupcakes, sushi and everything in between,” said Joe Piconcelli, the village’s cultural programs and facilities manager.
Also, expect to find gator bites, brisket, quesadillas, Southern barbecue, fries with more than 30 sauces, Columbian hot dogs and Philly cheesesteaks. The Miami-based Bite Gastro Truck will be there, too. And perhaps foie gras.
Miami-based Food Truck Invasion is handling the alternative dining event, willing to switch cuisine based on diner’s palates.
“If Chinese food is not working, they will do something else,” Piconcelli said.
He brought the idea to Wellington after seeing a similar one in Broward County.
“It’s a social event,” he said. “You sit and eat.”
Blankets or chairs are a good idea.
Despite the “gourmet” descriptor, the food isn’t expected to cost a fortune: $5 or $10 per item.
The coordinator for Food Truck Invasion, Steve Simon, literally coordinates food trucks, sending them to locations throughout South Florida.
A disc jockey will play music tonight, with live music to come during future dining nights.
The event will continue every Thursday through May 13, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ordinarily, you’d have to drive all over Tulsa to sample them all.
But for one day only, there will be 15 different food truck vendors in one spot in downtown Tulsa’s Blue Dome District as part of the first-ever “Eat Street” Food Truck Festival.
Kris Boyne runs the Pink Tamale food truck with a blend of different Mexican dishes and is helping organize the event.
“The Dog House is planning to be there, which is gourmet hot dogs,” Boyne said. “The Grub Truck, a professionally-trained chef and has his own eclectic mix of stuff so yeah, there’s going to be a range of different folks out there.”
Brownie’s Hamburgers, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Mr. Nice Guy’s Tacos are some of the others, to name only a few.
Boyne says food trucks are gaining in popularity nationwide.
“There’s a lot of really great chefs in the Tulsa area that just aren’t really looking for the expense and overhead that comes with a storefront restaurant, and so the food truck phenomenon is really something that’s been taking hold across the country.”
Hours for the festival are from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. this Saturday, November 10th, in the Blue Dome District in downtown Tulsa.
From the good folks at Dinnerware Art Space, tonight at Tower Theatres, 5755 W Arizona Pavilions Drive, you can get your chow from some of Tucson’s finest food trucks, including (according to the good folks over at Dinnerware Artspace) Stolen Recipe BBQ, Mexico City Kitchen, The Coffee Van, Jamie’s Bitchen Kitchen, Hellfire Pizza Co., The Chill Shack, AFF Kettle Korn, Seis Curbside, Street Delights, Just Churros, Pin UP Pastries, Crazy Dogs Hot Dogs, Trucking Good Cupcakes, Baja Tacos, Jane’s Rolling Wok, Foodie Fleet, German Food Station, Seis Curbside Mexican Gourmet, Jackie’s Food Court and Serial Grillers. The Roundup has started, opening up at 4:30, but it continues until 7:30.
But, on the off-chance you won’t be able to make it out to Tower Theatres tonight, this isn’t your last chance this week for food truck goodness.
Another Roundup is set to convene upon Sportsman’s Warehouse, 3145 E. Costco Drive, this Thursday, Nov. 8 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., while a third Roundup is planned to meet at the International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Road, on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Two trucks come to Vistaprint in Lexington every other Wednesday, and the online marketing services provider springs for all the tacos, hot dogs, and Korean barbecue noodle bowls the employees can eat.
What is it? The owners of Calypso (formerly of the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market) went mobile last year with Mini Trini, featuring a simple menu of delicacies from the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
Real street: Owner Iman Marcano said their most popular item is the traditional street food called double. “The same way you buy hot dogs on the street, [double is] what people are selling on the corners in Trinidad,” Marcano said. A double is fried dough (bara) filled with curried chickpeas (chana) and featuring a choice of sauces and extra fillings. We favor the mango and hot pepper sauce. Just $5, it’s a perfect on-the-go snack.
Hungry? Go for the roti (curried chicken, $11; spinach and pumpkin, $10). They’re pricier than most food truck fare but the delicious fillings wrapped in flaky dough are belly-filling.
Why the Indian influences? Trinidad has a high population of East Indians.
Find it: They’re trying out permanent spots like 33rd and Arch, and 22nd and Callowhill, but check sites below for daily updates. If you miss Calypso dearly, never fear! It will re-emerge at a permanent location, 7122 Germantown Ave., with an expected opening in the winter.
An exploration of mobile food operations, relayed this week by wannabe food trucker Molly Eichel.
Bon appetit, y’all.
Ruthie’s Rolling Creperie
DALLAS Any North Texan lucky enough to have visited Paris – the one across the pond, not the one in Lamar County – likely has a special memory of the food there. Even street carts serving pressed hot dogs are exceptional in France’s capital city. And the crepes? That conversation – with requisite raving – could last all day. While a quick trip to Europe for a gourmet snack might not fit most of our budgets, one Dallas company is bringing the spirit of Parisian street food to DFW. Ruthie’s Rolling Café, known for its mouth-watering, grandma-inspired grilled cheese sandwiches, announced a new addition to its burgeoning fleet: Ruthie’s Rolling Creperie, which hits the street in November. Official dates are TBA, but the new truck is currently booking private parties.
“We decided for our third truck concept to be a crepe truck after doing RD this summer in other big food truck cities like Austin, Portland, and New York City. We realized that the one truck Dallas didn’t have was crepes,” said co-owner Ashlee Kleinert.
For the uninitiated, crepes might be described as “French pancakes,” but they are lighter than and not considered as breakfast-specific as their Yankee cousins. They’re traditionally made from flour, egg, milk, salt, and butter and served with a host of sweet and savory fillings — everything from strawberries and cream to melted cheese and bacon.
Ruthie’s Rolling Creperie joins the original grilled cheese slinging Rolling Café and the company’s second truck, Ruthie’s Cheesesteak Café, which serves cheese-drowned Amoroso Hoagies filled with rib-eye steak or chicken. The creperie will create “French cuisine Texas style: Big and hearty,” and menu items include creative combinations like the “It’s All Greek to Me” with Greek yogurt, honey, and mixed nuts and the “Veggie Caprese” with sliced tomato, mozzarella, and pesto.
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