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Food Trucks

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columbia mo food truck

COLUMBIA, MO - At its meeting Monday night, the Columbia City Council approved ordinances to authorize food truck zones on certain downtown streets and to extend the hours that restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol at sidewalk cafes.

After the passage of the ordinances, food trucks will be able to set up shop at eight on-street parking spaces on the south side of Cherry Street between Sixth and Seventh streets, eight spaces on the south side of Locust Street between Ninth and Tenth streets, and 10 spaces on the north side of Walnut Street between Ninth and Tenth.

To use the zones, food truck operators need to pay for the parking spaces they use by leasing meter bags from the city’s Public Works Department. Daily bags cost $10 for one space and $20 for two spaces, and monthly bags cost $150 for one space and $200 for two spaces.

Before passage of the food truck ordinance, food trucks were mostly limited to private parking lots.

Bryan Maness, owner of the Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co., testified before the council and asked it to amend the proposed ordinance to allow food trucks to park on city streets on the University of Missouri campus. Campus is predominantly zoned R-3 residential, and the ordinance the council passed does not allow food trucks in residential areas.

Council members indicated they might be open to adjusting food truck zones later, but Mayor Bob McDavid said the city should get the university’s input on the issue of allowing the trucks on campus before amending the ordinance.

“I think we should explore that,” McDavid said.

Find the entire article at columbiatribune.com <here>

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deland fl downtown

DELAND, FL - Food-truck vendors looking to operate on private property in DeLand will have to jump through a few new hoops before they can open their serving windows to hungry customers.

An ordinance requiring trucks and the sites which host them to get permits from the city passed 4-0 — with Commissioner Vonzelle Johnson absent — on second reading at Monday’s meeting of the City Commission.

Several commissioners had previously expressed concern that food trucks parked long-term in vacant lots were acting as de facto restaurants and competing with the town’s brick-and-mortar eateries.

The ordinance requires each food truck “host site” to get an annual license from the city.

Each site would be allowed to have food trucks up to 12 times each year.

The food trucks themselves will be required to undergo an annual fire safety inspection, as well as obtain a business tax receipt if based in the city.

The new rules wouldn’t apply to food trucks operating in the city as part of a special event.

While the idea for the ordinance was first brought up last summer, protracted negotiations with private land owners who would have been affected delayed its adoption.

Find the entire article by news-journalonline.com <here>

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Andrew Zimmern Food Truck Quote

“The only restaurants that should be worried about food trucks are bad ones,” - Andrew Zimmern

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Healthy Food Truck Initiative Banner

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Healthy usually doesn’t describe food trucks.

Yet the masterminds behind local food trucks Chez Yasmine and Schmear It convened last night to discuss the challenges and rewards of serving healthy fast food.

The Healthy Food Truck Panel was held in Huntsman Hall and drew in nearly 75 students. College and Wharton junior Robert Hsu and Wharton sophomore Jessica Chen organized the panel as part of the Healthy Food Truck Initiative, an organization that they co-founded. The two food trucks, along with Magic Carpet, have been working with Philadelphia Healthy Food Initiative to offer and advertise healthier options since fall.

Over the past year, HFT has fostered relationships with Chez Yasmine’s owner Jihed Chehimi and Schmear It’s owner Dave Fine, a 2011 College graduate. HFT does not have specific criteria for the food trucks that they partner with, but according to Chen, “We do all the reaching out. We have an idea of which food trucks are healthy.”

Before Chehimi opened Chez Yasmine, he worked in a research lab and enjoyed lunch from food trucks for 20 years. His familiarity with food trucks inspired him to take a different approach.

“Healthy, clean and different. I didn’t want to sell hot dogs,” Chehimi said.

Chehimi offers a Swedish Berry Salad, which earns its finishing flair from fresh mint and rose water. He also serves quinoa, a grain that is “the best you  can eat in terms of health.”

When Chipotle and Sweetgreen became successful on Penn’s campus, Schmear It’s Fine noticed that people were willing to pay more for quality food. Fine saw that a niche for Schmear It and envisioned it as part of Penn’s array of food trucks. However, both Chehimi and Fine admit that the biggest challenge is balancing cost with fresh, healthy ingredients.

“I think when you’re trying to offer healthy options, they are more expensive. Sometimes they are reflected in the prices, but [the customers] recognize it as a special offering they can’t get elsewhere,” Fine said.

Find the entire article at thedp.com <here>

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full speed ahead

CHARLESTON, WV - Luscious lunch offerings are moving about as food trucks and outdoor carts pop up beneath spring sunshine.

“This is a restaurant on wheels,” said Donna Sales, as she worked out of a truck tagged Sistah’s on the Go. “I go out year-round but it’s slower in the winter. Now it’s picking up. The weather is getting better. The snow about killed me. I’ll do good. I feel it coming.”

Sales has most recently parked her food truck at the intersection of YMCA Driveand Hillcrest, where she serves a steady stream of customers. She figures it’s a good spot and she will be there at lunch time as long as business is brisk.

Sales said food trucks and vendor carts are popular in bigger cities but are just now gaining steam in Charleston.

She opened Sistah’s Rib Shack in 2010 on Seventh Avenue on the West Sidebut closed it late last year due to a lack of business. She believes the location, tucked away on a one-way street, was a drawback. With her food truck, she can have her choice of visible sites.

“I like doing what I do,” she said. “My partner, Clint Arnold, bought the food truck. I cook and move around. This is my dream.”

When there is a big event, Arnold has been known to pitch in. However, he has another full-time business.

Her regular full-time assistant right now is her cousin, Kenneth Foye, who is visiting from Indiana where he also works in the food business.

“I am trying to get him to stay,” she said. “He’s teaching me little things.”

The Sistah’s on the Go truck runs a chalkboard menu that varies from day to day. Among offerings are ribs, chicken, fish, Polish sausage, hot dogs, hot bologna, French fries, onion rings, mac ‘n cheese, green beans, baked beans, fried green tomatoes and peach cobbler. Not everything is offered every day and she is open to requests. As the weather gets warmer, plans call for offering free lemonade.

To place a call-ahead order or inquire about catering, call 304-346-RIBS.

Meanwhile, in downtown Charleston on the corner of Capitol and Lee streets, mouthwatering aromas drift from a cart at lunch time where Mark Gomez andTim Johnson prepare steak kabobs, pulled pork, Philly cheese steak, hot dogs with homemade chili, and corned beef. The business, called All American Capitol, has been rolling around the area since last June.

“We come every day as weather permits,” Gomez said. “We’re here Monday through Friday from 11 to 2. On Friday and Saturday nights we’re at Chase across from Blue Parrot on Capitol Street.”

Gomez has two more carts ready to go when the time comes to expand and he can find adequate help with the enthusiasm he and Johnson have for the business.

“It’s like being a bartender without the alcohol,” Gomez said. “We talk to everybody. We enjoy it.”

He said a license and insurance are among requirements for running the business that must meet the standards of the state Health Department. He believes customers enjoy seeing their food prepared right before their eyes.

He and Sales both have commissary sites for doing the prep work before heading out to their mobile locations.

However, another entrepreneur runs a restaurant in addition to a food truck.

Adrian “Bay” Wright is owner of Dem 2 Brothers and A Grill, 426 Virginia St. W.

In 2011, he set up a grill at the corner of Virginia Street West and Central Avenue where he sold to-go fare. Late last year he moved into the building across the way where customers could enjoy indoor dining. However, he also purchased a food truck a few months ago in order to take his offerings on the road to fairs, festivals or just downtown for the lunch crowd.

“I got the truck last year,” he said. “I started with a cart and then the food truck and then the building. I’ll do downtown and a little bit of everywhere with the food truck.”

Sometimes customers are in the mood to grab a quick bite from outdoor vendors and sit in the sun instead of a restaurant, he said.

He sometimes hires extra help but generally one of his six brothers is around to assist.

“I’ll probably start next month taking the truck out in Charleston to Capitol Street and different places,” said Wright, who plans to make it convenient for the lunch crowd.

The menu includes mouthwatering items such as pulled pork, ribs, Italian sausage, Philly cheese steak, fish, bratwurst, chicken breast, hot beef bologna and hot dogs.

The telephone number for the restaurant is 304-550-4431

There is a sense of camaraderie among those who sell food outdoors, the vendors say. Wright said discussion is swirling around holding an event where they can all meet in one area and sell their specialties. Sales said there is no sense of competition because a customer may buy one item at one stop and a different food from another vendor.

She predicts once the food truck business gets rolling in Charleston that it will continue to pick up speed.

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los angeles lonchero

LOS ANGELES, CA - Of the roughly 3,200 licensed food trucks and carts wheeling meals around Los Angeles County, about 40 percent have never been inspected by the Department of Public Health. The rest are checked less frequently than guidelines require, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Those troubling figures come from Angelo Bellomo, the Department’s director of environmental health, who oversees restaurant and food truck inspections, who told the L.A. Times that, “this is an area that needs improvement.”

The Vehicle Inspection Program, which mandates letter grades for food trucks, was first introduced in 2011, and county health guidelines require two annual field inspections. However this hasn’t happened for a significant number of mobile eateries on the road and consumers still cannot review health inspection information for many of these trucks.

The 40 percent report does not include any unlicensed vendors that are currently doing business in the city.

“[The Health Department] estimates around 11,000 illegal vendors operate every day here in Los Angeles County,” said Matt Geller, Co-Founder & CEO, Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association on AirTalk. “So they have a huge task ahead of them. I’m sure that there are lapses at times, but 40 percent seems like a very high number to me.”

The term illegal vendors refers to any person selling food or beverages without a license, from the person selling sodas out of a cooler to a food truck roaming the streets without a license.

Find the entire article at scpr.org <here>

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columbus food truck

COLUMBUS, OH - After years of discussion, Columbus has new regulations that will allow vendors to sell a taco, pita or other food from a truck parked on a city street.

The city council approved the food-truck legislation unanimously last night, allowing food trucks to park and conduct business on city streets for the first time. Previously, trucks could park and sell their food only on private property.

About a month ago, food-truck owners were decrying an earlier version of the rules. Now, they’re commending the city.

“They did, for the most part, what we wanted to see, and, overall, they listened to us,” said Brian Reed, president of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association and owner of the Mojo Tago truck.

Find the entire article at dispatch.com <here>

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truckin with tipsyz
HIGH POINT, NC - High Point Market is anything but business as usual for local restaurants and chefs.

Local restaurateurs see High Point Market as an opportunity to showcase their talent and draw in more business. Taylor Epperson mans the Tipsy’z Tavern food truck outside of Showplace where several food trucks set up shop. Epperson said that business has been great in the Tipsy’z truck’s first visit to market.

“People know our name already because of the restaurant so we already get a lot of good market business,” Epperson said. “We used to cater but I think the trucks are easier because people walk right by us instead of having to go to specific showrooms.”

Epperson said that their best seller is the “Bleu Got Barbequed” burger that is stuffed with Bleu cheese crumbles and topped with apple and barbecue sauce.
Nick Benshoff owns a food truck, Bandito Burrito Truck, out of Greensboro but swapped his truck and burritos for a kitchen in Market Square for Three Guys and a Bowl Thai Cafe.

Find the entire article at hpe.com <here>

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Ugly Food Truck

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A group of outraged San Francisco businesses are putting their time to use by demanding the removal of ”ugly and garish” food trucks from their otherwise pristine streets.

Members of the San Francisco Locally Merchants Organization are even criticizing these roaming street vendors as “almost exclusively terrible citizens” and have presented their case before the local Community Zoning Board to help with their crusade.

The co-founder of the organization harshly explained, “They are unsightly, and not particularly good citizens. They litter. They violate the rules frequently. The fact that these are vendors doesn’t give them the license to be slobs.”

To pass the group’s gold standard, food trucks would not be able to have “ugly or garish” vehicle wraps. The organization has pointed to FedEx and UPS as truck branding that could be used as prototypes for what all food trucks should aspire to look like.

Folks behind the popular food truck event Off the Grid, perhaps the people’s voice behind the hungry crowds who actually frequent the cities food trucks, are telling the group to lay off. “…this would make it much less pleasant for us who value these trucks for their delicious, affordable food as an alternative to the generic and overpriced chain restaurants in the area” and credit current vendors as legitimate businesses that employ hundreds of workers across the city.

Attorney Jessie Navarro who advocates for vendors cited the city’s hefty permit fees as very reason why people are unable to spruce up their trucks, “They can’t afford to invest in their mobile businesses and make them look better because they have to pay outrageous fees just to operate” and spurned the group’s proposed cleansing.

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