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Mobile Cuisine is the complete online resource destination for the mobile food industry. We are dedicated to delivering our faithful readers every must-read street food, food truck, food cart and food stand story bubbling up across the Web, along with exclusive news, interviews, and amazing photos.

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arson

WESTFIELD, MA – A homeless man has been charged after Westfield police say he broke into a food truck and lit it on fire. Police Capt. Hipolito Nunez stated that Michael England, 22, set the fire on the passenger side of the truck Sunday night.

According to Nunez, around 11:00 P.M., England had been walking down Union Street with some friends, when he decided to enter the truck, which was parked near Brothers Custom Car Care. For reasons that the police are still looking into, he then allegedly started the fire.

Officers who were called to the area were able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, Nunez said.

England was arraigned Tuesday in Westfield District Court on charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime, and attempt to burn a motor vehicle.

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taco truck attack

HARRIS COUNTY, TX – Two men held up workers that were making repairs to a taco truck in north Harris County late Tuesday, deputies said.

It happened around 10 p.m. along Memory near Airline.

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said the masked men approached four workers at gunpoint. They pistol-whipped two of the workers, taking their cash, wallets, and cell phones. The robbers shot one of the victims in his arm and then fled the scene.

The taco stand was closed at the time as the workers made repairs to a refrigerator, but deputies said the robbers may have not known that.

The shooting victim was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The men who were pistol-whipped were treated at the scene.

Find the original article at khou.com <here>

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abq-food-trucks

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry launched a program this summer called Truckin’ Tuesdays, in which local food truck owners can show up at Civic Plaza Downtown, park their mobile eateries, and sell food every Tuesday at lunchtime.

Eating at one of our local food trucks is affordable and a good way to get a real taste of Albuquerque while helping support small businesses,” Berry said in an email. “Bringing the trucks to Civic Plaza is a great way to connect city and downtown employees with these culinary entrepreneurs.

On an overcast Tuesday in mid-July, one culinary entrepreneur was set up; at that time, the area had the capacity for only two food trucks.

Once construction in the area is complete, there will be room for eight food trucks, according to Breanna Anderson, a spokeswoman for Berry.

Michele Haskins, co-owner of Hot Off The Press mobile food truck, which specializes in grilled sandwiches, had the plaza to herself.

She was serving up Cubano sandwiches, burnt tacos and other sandwiches to a line of five or six customers, some of whom lived in the neighborhood and walked over, others who worked in the area and were on lunch break.

“This is a great location,” said Haskins. “It’s well worth our while to come down.”

The 411

Do you own a food truck and want to set up for Truckin’ Tuesdays or First Friday Food Truck? Contact Leslie Munoz in the City of Albuquerque mayor’s office at 768-3000.

Find the entire article at abqjournal.com <here>

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burlington food trucks

BURLINGTON, VT - 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.

Find the entire article at burlingtonfreepress.com <here>

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boulder food truck event

BOULDER, CO - Nearly 700 people fan out over a spacious grassy park. Youngsters enjoy getting their faces painted while their parents sway to the beat of a bluegrass band. More than a dozen food trucks ply their wares, which range from street-style tacos to frozen vegan desserts.

Is this a blowout weekend festival that comes but once a year? Not quite, it’s just a typical summertime Monday night in Longmont’s Prospect community. This is “Prospect Eats,” which bills itself as “the largest weekly gathering of gourmet food trucks in Colorado.”

There’s little reason to doubt this description, and it’s immediately apparent food trucks are the straw that stirs the drink here as crowds gravitate around their favorite vendors.

Cassia Baranello, who recently celebrated her birthday at Prospect Eats, explains the considerable appeal of this block party on steroids.

“You can hang out with friends, listen to music and eat good food,” she says. “You also don’t have to do the dishes.”

The popularity of these events illustrates how food trucks have come a long way from what Tasterie truck owner Shannon Aten dubs “traditional roach coaches.”

Hosea Rosenberg, the champion of Season 5 of TV’s “Top Chef” and Blackbelly food truck owner, explains how perceptions have changed when it comes to mobile kitchens.

“For so long, people considered food trucks kind of gross,” he said, “but now there’s actual chefs cooking.”

Aten and Rosenberg’s menus show that a gourmet sensibility has displaced such outdated offerings as soggy, premade sandwiches. You’re likely to find a Thai pork bowl and shrimp and sausage grits on offer at Tasterie. Rosenberg’s Blackbelly spotlights specialties such as a lamb sandwich made from an animal raised on Rosenberg’s farm, which shares its name with the truck, his catering business and upcoming Boulder market.

Besides good food, the social aspect is another potent part of these trucks’ allure.

“Food trucks are more casual than a restaurant,” Aten says. “They’re more interactive.”

She notes gatherings afford an opportunity to “talk to a neighbor you wouldn’t necessarily be able to talk to in a restaurant.”

Find the entire article at dailycamera.com <here>

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dreamcakes birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL — Authorities don’t suspect foul play in the death of a man who drove a cupcake truck in Birmingham.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office says 40-year-old Shane Caldwell was found dead inside a food truck he drove for Dreamcakes Bakery.

The body was found after the truck was reported missing Sunday afternoon. Passersby saw the vehicle and notified police.

Officials haven’t released a cause of death but they say it’s not considered suspicious.

The owner of Dreamcakes posted a message on the company’s Facebook page saying Caldwell may have died of a heart attack after parking the truck near his home.

The bakery’s owner Jan Moon expressing sympathy for Caldwell’s family and friends. “He was a kind and generous person who often did things beyond the call of duty,” the statement read.

Caldwell died of a possible heart attack after parking the truck near his home, Moon said in the statement.

An autopsy is being conducted.

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the cinnamon snail

Mobile Cuisine is always proud to provide our readers articles designed to share a multifaceted culinary lifestyle program that is spreading throughout the country and world. As many of you already know, we have designated many of our Monday features to help promote the Meatless Monday’s program which not only do we support on the website, but our staff actually has adopted in our Monday dietary lifestyle.

Today we want to follow up a recent article in which we asked our readers to submit their choice for America’s favorite vegetarian or vegan food truck or cart. The submissions have been counted and many of the trucks were too close to eliminate some, so instead of a top 10. we have a top 15.

Bombay Food Junkies – St. Louis, MO

The Cilantro Truck – Golden, CO

Cinnamon Snail – NYC/NJ

Custom Confections – Houston, TX

The Farm Concessions – Keene, NH

Good Karma Kitchen – DFW, TX

The Green Radish – New York, NY

Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ – Portland, OR

Karma Chamealeon – Toronto, Canada

Like No Udder – Providence, RI

Mama Juice – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

PAC Pastries – Jupiter, FL

The Randy Radish – Sterling, VA

The Squeeze – New York, NY

Unity Vegan Kitchen – Austin, TX

If you are a food truck that feels you should have been included, we apologize. The trucks selected for this poll were determined by our readers, and by the number of votes they received in the first phase of the contest.

2014 Vegan/Vegetarian Food Truck of the Year

View Results

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This poll will stay open for 2 weeks to make sure everyone gets a chance to vote for in the poll and the truck operators will have a chance to let their fans know to come help them collect votes. The poll will close on August 8th at 12AM CT. The results will be announced on the following Monday.

If you run into issues with submitting a vote in the poll, you can submit via email (contest@mobile-cuisine.com), however we will be making sure that only 1 vote is counted per person.

The winner of this contest will be featured on Mobile Cuisine in a feature article, to help share information about the vendor, their menu, and how they came up with the idea for serving meatless fare.

Tell your friends and family to help spread the word.

Please do your part today and join the Meatless Monday movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twitter.

Mobile Cuisine looks forward to continued coverage of Meatless Monday for our readers!

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mt pleasant food truck

MT PLEASANT, MI - Mt. Pleasant is almost a year into the implementation of its revised food truck ordinance and has not received any criticism regarding the changes.

“I checked with both the city manager’s office and my office, and haven’t heard any complaints,” City Clerk Jeremy Howard said.

Right now, the city has two food trucks licensed for operation.

Howard said that because Central Michigan University Research Corporation has recently kicked off “Food Truck Fridays,” an initiative aimed at drawing more attention toward food truck start-ups, the city might see an uptick in registered food trucks.

“I think that Food Truck Fridays has kind of put that into the forefront a little bit, so I think we’ll see potentially at least people talking about it,” he said.

Howard said the ordinance, passed in October 2013, went into effect November of the same year.

The ordinance was drafted with a one-year sunset provision, Howard said, so if it is not re-examined by the commission within the coming months, it will expire.

If the ordinance does end, Howard said, the city’s provision on the mobile food truck specifics will end as well.

However, the changes made to the rest of the ordinance, such as wording changes, will stay, he said.

The ordinance changes allowed food trucks to park in the downtown area and on Main Street south of High Street between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Twelve of the trucks can register per year on a first-come first-serve basis, and vendors must move if they present any sort of a threat to public safety.

Find the entire article at themorningsun.com <here>

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dc food trucks

Maybe you don’t care about food trucks.

Maybe you eat leftovers at your desk, or frequent the restaurant next to your office.

But if you care about people having access to good, reasonably priced food, and the ability to open and operate a safe, responsible and successful business, the food-truck fight happening across the country should matter to you.

Three cities – Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. – exemplify the varying degrees of government rules that dictate what you can eat and who can serve it to you.

At the worst end of the spectrum is Chicago.

Chicago works unabashedly to make it difficult for food trucks to exist within city limits.

Since the 1980s, the status of the city’s food-truck regulations has been a point of serious contention between food-truck owners and the restaurateurs and politicians who oppose their existence.

In 1986, a city ordinance that made it illegal for food carts and food trucks to operate within 200 feet of a restaurant was overturned in a Cook County Circuit Court.

“The law made no sense,” said Lou Elovitz, the attorney who argued successfully in favor of Thunderbird Catering Co., the plaintiff fought against the 200-foot limit. “Why would a restaurant be entitled to keep a competitor away? Because they pay rent? That makes no sense. People have a right to buy food anywhere. We’re talking about food, sustenance – people must eat.”

But again in 1991, it became illegal for food trucks to do business within 200 feet of a restaurant (except for those serving construction workers, which received a special exemption from the city).

Not surprisingly, as of July 2012, there were only about 120 food trucks on the road in Chicago, only 50 of which constitute modern “gourmet” food trucks; the rest generally served construction sites, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice. In 2012, the city passed revisions to the food-truck laws that allowed food-truck owners to cook on board (previously they had been banned from preparing food onboard their vehicles), but also added language requiring food trucks to have a GPS tracker on at all times.

Find the entire article at The Huffington Post <here>

The 200-foot rule still stands today. And those backing the city’s restaurants, including Tom Tunney, the 44th Ward Alderman and owner of the Ann Sather chain of restaurants, make no secret that the main driver behind the city’s oppressive rules is to protect established businesses.

“One of the major issues is spacing from brick-and-mortar restaurants,” Tunney told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2011. “We’ve got work to do. We need to hear from all sides. We need to make sure we protect … restaurants and foster a trend that, I think, is gonna be here for a while.”

On the other side of the country, Los Angeles and its residents experience an entirely different food-truck culture.

According to Bloomberg writer Stephanie Armour, Los Angeles had more than 2,400 food trucks as of 2012. These vendors line the streets in neighborhoods all over town, offering customers everything from Korean tacos to lobster rolls to wood-oven pizza.

L.A.’s food truck rules ensure that mobile vendors operate in a way that preserves public safety and don’t include wording that would restrict these businesses’ freedoms – but only because state law prohibits the city from going any further.

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