Browsing articles tagged with " street food"
Jul 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Dubuque Following Food Truck Trend

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the food truck called “Beauty and the Beef” as the most promising new business of the year.

But Dubuque isn’t the only community noticing. Food trucks are a growing trend nationwide.

A Los Angeles-based analytical firm says food trucks are the fastest-growing dining industry in the United States. Over the past five years, it’s grown more than 8 percent per year. Another California firm says food truck revenue is expected to quadruple to $2.7 billion by 2017.

Earlier this month, Iowa City started a four-month experiment to see if there’s demand for the mobile restaurants that have typically only frequented construciton sites and the like.

Wherever the “Beauty and the Beef” truck shows up, so do the hungry customers.

Costumer Emily Bradley said, “Yesterday we were like ‘oh they are going to be here tomorrow, it’s going to be the best day.’”

It’s like the old neighborhood ice cream truck, but for adults.

“I got the bombshell and I just think it’s great and really delicious,” said customer Katie Steines.

That was the reaction Beauty and the Beef owners Teri Link and Kathy Kordell were hoping for.

Kordell said, “Teri and I were watching The Food Network and they have all kinds of shows on food trucks. Food trucks are a big thing on the coasts and in Chicago. “

That’s why the two former stay at home moms thought a food truck would work in Dubuque.

“It was always intended to be a profitable business. From the get go. And we’ve just been slammed ever since we started,” said Kordell.

After seeing Beauty and the Beef’s success, Michelle Tollefson and her fiancé started their own fried food truck called Wild Fryers.

“Beauty and the Beef has been a huge help. Even with Facebook. They traveled with us to help get our name out there, “said Tollefson.

Six weeks in, the Wild Fryers are learning the tricks of the mobile food trade.

“It makes things a little tricky too. You have to make sure you have enough potatoes. You can’t just forget something,” said Tollefson.

Both food trucks let the Internet do their marketing.

“We don’t advertise at all,” said Kordell. “We’re on Facebook and Twitter and that’s how people know where we are going to be. What days and time and what the menu is going to be. “

Here today. Gone, to somewhere else, tomorrow.

l Comments: (563) 583-9999; katie.wiedemann@kcrg.com

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Jul 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Homeless man accused of burning food truck

A homeless man who told police he was hungry faces charges after allegedly breaking into a food truck in Westfield before setting it on fire.

The Republican newspaper of Springfield reports that a judge set bail at $500 for 22-year-old Michael England.

Police said England and two other men were seen on surveillance video Sunday night near Mary’s Much Mobile while the food truck was parked at a repair shop. The video showed one man approach the truck while the others ran away. The vehicle burst into flames a short time later.

According to a police report, England said he tried to break into the truck because he was drunk and hungry, then lit the fire after not finding any food.

It was not known if the suspect had an attorney.

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Jul 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

City considers lift of downtown food truck ban

Burlington is taking an initial look at bringing food trucks into the downtown to open up more spaces to a growing industry.

The city’s Community and Economic Development Office began exploring the idea after hearing from vendors who want Burlington to become a friendlier environment for food trucks.

“We’ve just been inspired by other cities who are doing lots of innovative things with food trucks, but also by the demand that we have here,” said Diana Colangelo, economic development specialist.

A city ordinance currently prohibits larger food trucks from operating in the downtown area. Outside of that area, food trucks must park at non-metered spaces, and if trucks want to set up shop at a city park, they need to work out an arrangement with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront. Oakledge Park allows two food trucks for the first time this year.

So the idea of food trucks pulling up outside of downtown businesses at lunchtime remains several steps from becoming reality — including a significant amount of public input. Colangelo’s office has also yet to settle on a location for the trucks.

Colangelo said, however, that she hopes food trucks could be allowed downtown as early as next year.

Vendors say greater access to downtown would give entrepreneurs a leg up.

“For me, you cannot truly be endorsing food trucks without allowing them to access areas where our tourists will be,” said Marcelle Bunbury-Whitcomb, who owns a Caribbean food truck called Bunbury EAT with her husband, Robert Whitcomb.

The city also recognizes that trucks might be unwelcome neighbors for some downtown restaurants.

“I think our interest is supporting businesses of all types in the city,” said Colangelo.

The suggestions come as a Burlington City Council committee is separately reopening the ordinance that regulates peddlers, including food trucks.

Full plates, with limits

Burlington’s food truck scene is relatively small but growing.

In the last year, the number of traveling food truck licenses in Burlington has grown from 7 to 11, said Jean Poulin, who handles peddler licensing at City Hall.

There’s a waiting list for the seven food truck spots near the University of Vermont, and hip South End venue ArtsRiot fills its parking lot with food trucks and lines of customers every Friday in the summer.

Pam Bissonnette, whose Pam’s Deli truck has been parked on University Place for 31 years, said she has “definitely” seen an increase in food trucks in Burlington through the years.

However, Bissonnette said, she believes limitations are necessary. She remembers a time when 13 vendors packed into University Place, prompting the current regulations.

“I think there should be a limit, I really do, because I know the restauranteurs pay a lot more than what we do,” Bissonnette said as she and her husband, George, served sandwiches and burgers at lunchtime Tuesday.

“I just think there’s so much energy right now for food trucks, for food truck culture,” said Liz Carson, sales director for Queen City Pops, a new company that sells frozen chocolate truffles out of a cart. “It has so much less risk involved than opening a storefront or opening a restaurant.”

“In some ways it’s almost like an incubator program — to see how it goes to make some money, gain a customer base and then take it to the next step,” added her sister, Sarah Carson, who owns the business.

Since Queen City Pops operates out of a cart instead of a truck, the business is allowed to reserve a designated spot downtown.

The sisters say it is a challenge to be a new food vendor in Burlington because the most coveted spots are already taken — and they’d like to see some locations reserved as rotating vendor spots. Overall, however, they said they believe Burlington’s regulations work well.

Bunbury EAT, a husband-and-wife business, started selling Caribbean food out of a former bookmobile that Robert Whitcomb converted into a food truck.

They secured a spot at University Place this year but have struggled to find other places to park during the summer. Ideally, Bunbury-Whitcomb said she would like the truck to be allowed into the downtown and waterfront area.

“If you can’t be in those main street areas, you can’t be near the waterfront…. Where do you go?” Bunbury-Whitcomb said.

When approached Tuesday about the idea of bringing food trucks to downtown, several restaurant owners were optimistic.

Ryan McFarlin, a manager at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth on Saint Paul Street, said the move could bring more eclectic food to the Burlington area.

“Burlington’s such a beautiful city. Anything to bring people outside into the downtown area definitely helps,” McFarlin said.

Mickey West, longtime owner of Red Onion on Church Street, said she was fine with allowing food trucks nearby as long as they paid fees to contribute to the upkeep of the downtown, like other businesses.

“I want them to pay to use the facilities, just like the rest of us do,” West said.

Felix Wai of ArtsRiot on Pine Street, which hosts the weekly food truck event, said the the idea of allowing food trucks downtown was “awesome.”

“It’s nothing but a boon for, I think, downtown in general,” Wai said. But, he added, “if I had a downtown restaurant, I don’t know how happy I’d be about it.”

Clash of the tacos?

Separate from the Community and Economic Development Office’s idea of allowing food trucks downtown, the City Council Ordinance Committee is also looking at city regulations. The committee proposed changes to the peddler ordinance last week — mostly minor adjustments, with two notable exceptions.

The ordinance currently prevents competition by restricting vendors from selling their wares within 30 feet of another business that sells similar goods. This can keep food trucks away from brick-and-mortar stores, for example.

The 30-foot zone around businesses is likely unconstitutional, Assistant City Attorney Gene Bergman told the Ordinance Committee last Wednesday.

“You’ve got to have a rational basis for deciding that, in this case, that you’re not going to allow competition between a peddler who’s selling a taco out on the street and the merchant who’s selling a taco in a store,” Bergman said.

The sisters of Queen City Pops initially considered setting up their cart near Ben Jerry’s, but changed their mind. They said it is in businesses’ interest to have some distance, no matter what the ordinance requires.

The other significant ordinance change that’s currently on the table is an expansion of the central peddling district — the downtown area where food trucks may not park — to include an extra block between Main Street and King Street.

Any more significant changes, including the city’s idea of allowing food trucks into the downtown, would require more discussion. CEDO is aware that its proposal would need to work around the current peddler ordinance.

The City Council is expected to take a look at adjusting the peddler ordinance in August.

Contact April Burbank at (802) 660-1863 or aburbank@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AprilBurbank

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Jul 30, 2014
Kim Rivers

Two food truck events next month

This blog’s focus is all things food in the Triangle: where to dine, where to shop, what to eat, what to cook. Food writer Andrea Weigl maintains this site.

Follow @andreaweigl on Twitter.

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Jul 30, 2014
Tim Lester

Have a chaat: An Indian street food staple to make at home

Samosa Chaat

Chaat is a hugely popular savoury Indian street food snack. This samosa chaat is the ultimate in fast food and quick and easy to make.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 pre-cooked samosas 

5tbsp of cooked chick peas

200g natural yoghurt

50g tamarind chutney

50g green chutney

1/2tsp roasted cumin powder

Juice 1/4 lemon

1/4tsp red chilli powder

1⁄2tsp chaat masala (a spice mix containing dried mango powder, cumin, black salt, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida and chili powder)

Half an onion, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

2tbsp coriander, finely chopped

100g sev (an Indian snack similar to crisps, small pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea)

Method:

The samosas should be cooked so that they are crispy to make the best base for the chaat. 

Arrange the samosas in a serving dish and break up with your fingers. You could also cut the samosas into 2-3 pieces with a knife. 

Place the boiled chick peas along over the smashed samosas. 

Top with chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, tamarind chutney, green chutney and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Pour the beaten yoghurt over the top. 

Sprinkle with chilli powder, cumin and chaat masala over the yoghurt. 

Finally sprinkle sev on top and serve immediately. Serve this as a starter or as a snack. 

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Jul 30, 2014
Jim Benson

Police: Suspect Apologizes After Allegedly Robbing Springfield Food Cart

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Springfield Police are investigating the daytime robbery of a city food cart.

Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney says that around 1:10 p.m. Monday, officers were called to a food cart near the corner of Belmont Avenue and White Street.

A 25-year-old woman who was working at the cart reportedly told police that a man approached and asked for some orange juice.

“The cart worker thought there was something wrong with this customer, like he was on drugs or drunk,” Delaney explains, adding that that man then pulled out what appeared to be a black semi-automatic pistol and demanded money.

The worker turned over an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect reportedly told the worker to not call police.

Delaney says that “right before he walked away, he said to the victim, ‘I’m sorry’.”

The suspect is described as a white male, between 30 and 40 years old, weighing about 190 pounds, and was 5′ 9″ tall. He has dirty blonde hair, and was last seen wearing a green-brown colored shirt and a black baseball hat.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Springfield Police Detective Bureau at (413) 787-6355 or ‘Text-A-Tip’ to CRIMES (274637) and in that message, type SOLVE and your tip.

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Jul 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

NYC uses food trucks to bring free summer meals to kids; more mobility, less …

Within minutes, the line at the food truck parked on a busy Queens thoroughfare extended several people deep. Hipster foodies looking to sample vegan pizzas or fusion tacos?

Nope, these were children, agonizing over whether to pick the ham-and- cheese or the peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, the regular or chocolate milk.

It was part of a summer meals program that tries to make sure the children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals during the academic year don’t lose out just because school’s out.

Instead of the kids coming to where the food is, the food goes to where the kids are.

New York City’s Department of Education put its first truck in service a couple of years ago, and this year it has four — one that goes to Orchard Beach in the Bronx and three that go to a park and two library branches in Queens.

“By bringing the food to them we’re able to extend our reach in ways that previously were unattainable,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the department’s Office of School Support Services.

Goldstein said about 75 percent of the city’s 1.1 million public school students are eligible during the school year for daily free or reduced-price meals, which the city provides and gets reimbursed for by the federal government. Participation during the school year requires filling out paperwork, and not all eligible students take part.

There’s no paperwork in the summer. But while participation in the summer meals program is on the rise, with 7.6 million meals served in summer 2013, up from 7.1 million in 2012, it’s still lower than when school is in session.

That mirrors what’s seen around the country, where only a small portion of the 21 million children who get meals during the school year have access to them in the summer when it can be more of a logistical challenge for parents to get kids to food sites.

Other places around the country have started using mobile delivery systems for their summer meals programs. In Baltimore, a summer meals program drops meals off at 11 sites, while in Waco, Texas, school buses go to certain designated sites and kids get on the bus to get their meals. In Florida’s Palm Beach County, a church uses a retrofitted school bus to deliver meals to kids at three apartment complexes.

However, New York City was one of the first to offer mobile deliveries and “most probably resembles a traditional food truck, perhaps more than almost anybody in the country,” said Josh Wachs, chief strategy officer for the organization Share Our Strength. The organization’s No Kid Hungry program helped the city get trucks for its mobile food offerings.

The trucks are white with bright colors. They’re decorated with text that promotes the free meals, and a number people can text to find the food service location closest to them. Something that is conspicuously missing is any reference to the idea that this of part of any anti-hunger program aimed at low-income residents.

That’s on purpose, Wachs said. “Having a food truck-style vehicle makes it fun for kids, and reduces the stigma often associated with free meals that has limited participation,” he said.

Participation with the trucks hasn’t been an issue. In 2012, 122,000 meals were served out of trucks. In 2013, it had jumped up to 320,000, Wachs said.

And Goldstein said that so far this summer, 65,000 more meals have been served via the trucks than at the same point last year.

Many of those have been at the truck outside the Queens Public Library branch on Main Street in the Flushing section of the borough, which had served more than 84,000 meals as of last week.

They were eaten by people like 10-year-old Azwa Sadat and her 6 ½-year-old sister, Zoya, who come by the truck a couple of times a week with their mother, Ifath, on their way to the library.

They both had chocolate milk and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and said they liked coming to the library even more because they knew the truck would be there.

“It smells good,” Azwa said.

Ying Li passed by the truck with her 5-year-old daughter, Sherry. “It’s very convenient,” she said, as the two went on their way to get her 7-year-old son from summer day camp.

Of course, kids being kids, it wasn’t going to be perfect, as Sherry held onto her milk but seemed reluctant to eat her sandwich.

“She doesn’t really like the bread,” Li said with a laugh.

___

Follow Deepti Hajela at www.twitter.com/dhajela

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Jul 29, 2014
Kim Rivers

Wineries plan annual ‘Rockin’ Food Truck Party’

On Saturday, Aug. 9, Folie à Deux, Napa Cellars and Ménage à Trois will be hosting their annual Rockin’ Food Truck Party, which is a celebration of food, wine and music.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Folie à Deux winery, 7481 St. Helena Highway in Oakville.

During the event, guests can enjoy wines, bites and live music performances by the Bad Jones, Grass Child, Trebuchet and Kingsborough. Preparing the food will be Crossroad Chicken, Cochon Volant, Tacos La Esperanza and Island Shaved Ice.

Tickets are $40 general admission; $25 for Wine Club members. To RSVP or sign up as a Wine Club Member, contact Nathan Chambers at 707-603-6426, nchambers@tfewines.com, or wineclub@folieadeux.com.

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