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iowa city food trucks

IOWA CITY, IA – Vendors were hammered with lunch orders on day one of the Iowa City food truck and mobile food vendor pilot program at Chauncey Swan Park.

Thursday marked the beginning of an experiment that will run through Oct. 31. The program is intended to test interest in allowing more mobile food vending permits, outside of six issued for the pedestrian mall.

Thursday’s vendors included Bread Garden Market’s gelato bicycle, Keepin’ Up with the Jones’s, Local Burrito and The Box Lunch.

Kyle Sieck, owner and chef at Local Burrito, said he ran out of food and needed more employees. Sieck said the rush could have been an “anomaly” due to the program’s novelty.

“That aside, I’m still really impressed that the community came out to support it on the first day,” he said.

Sieck said he is optimistic about the months ahead, and is excited to see how the students’ return to Iowa City affects business.

Sieck said he hopes to see officials keep working to make mobile vending in Iowa City more inclusive.

“I would just like to see a more comprehensive mobile vending ordinance and increase opportunities for us to be involved in the community,” he said. “The reason being we’re small businesses and entrepreneurs, and we can bring food to people at certain places and times where they aren’t currently being supplied.”

Jane McCune, of Blank & McCune real estate agency, said the location is a block from her office, making it a convenient lunch destination.

“I think (adding more food trucks) would be a good idea because I think there are plenty of people who are out and about, especially on the ped mall, and I think they would embrace the idea of eating local food outdoors,” she said.

Claire Myers, who works downtown, said she learned about the program through Twitter and came out to support local food.

“It’s convenient and obviously it’s worth a little more money to support local business,” she said.

Find the entire article at press-citizen.com <here>

iowa city food trucks

IOWA CITY, IA – It’s one of the newest trends all across the country–cooking and serving food curbside.

City Council in Iowa City approved a three-month pilot program to help determine if expanded vending opportunities for mobile food trucks and food carts should move forward in the City.

The council’s approval allows food truck vendors to set up mobile food trucks or food carts in three Iowa City locations between July 10 and October 31.

The three sites selected for the three-month pilot program are Chauncey Swan Park, City Park East Side Recycling Center with limited days and hours of operation have been established for each location.

The success of food truck vendors and the support from the community, will help whether policy changes allowing mobile food trucks to expand operations in the City should be explored, permanently.

Currently, six mobile vendors have businesses set up on the Ped Mall downtown, while others have been approved to sell prepared foods at the Iowa City Farmers Markets.

Mobile food vendors and food carts also are allowed to operate in the City on private property and during festivals and other special events.

All mobile vendors will pay the City $15 per day in permit fees in advance to operate their trucks or carts on City-owned property.

For more information: www.icgov.org/foodtruck

Find the original article at aaa <here>

iowa city food trucks

IOWA CITY, IA – The first Iowa City farmers’ market was packed and the line for The Box Lunch food truck was steady, where owner Liz Wohlford handed out food to hungry customers who were happy to see her truck out after a long winter.

“I couldn’t find you guys soon enough,” one customer said.

Wohlford decided to start the truck last year after 30 years as a mechanical engineer, and now sells The Box Lunch’s 50s and 60s-style diner food wherever she can. Her nephew Chris George got on board as the chef, and it was a perfect fit.

“(I) just got tired of (the) corporate world and wanted to start my own business,” she said.

But Wohlford and George aren’t just trying to change their own lives. They want to help change Iowa City’s laws, too.

After taking public input at a recent forum, they’ve helped Iowa City staff draft the very beginning of a food truck pilot program. Right now, there are no city ordinances that oversee food truck sales within the city, outside of specific events like the farmers’ market.

The pilot program will test how much business the food trucks can generate on their own in a given location, while not taking away from other restaurants. The trucks will be tested in three different locations in both the summer and fall, once students come back into town.

“Brick and mortar restaurants and food trucks co-exist, and sometime it takes a while to figure out what that relationship needs to be,” said assistant city manager Geoff Fruin.

“I would not set my burrito truck up in front of a burrito restaurant, just because that’s not cool,” said Local Burrito owner Kyle Sieck.

Sieck has also been a part of the pilot program process, and said, he wants to sell more food, but not at the expense of the community.

“It’s a small town with a big city feel,” he said. “It pays to cooperate.”

And something about Sieck’s philosophy is paying off, because Local Burrito isn’t just a food truck. Sieck rents space the Iowa City Hillel commercial kitchen to cook for his wholesale operation. People can find Local Burrito items in 16 different stores between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

“That’s essentially what Local Burrito’s mission is: to local common food products and encourage people to start their own local businesses,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in that. The whole idea of growing and contributing to everything I’ve put into this this far motivates me.”

Find the entire article with video at aaa <here>

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