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callahans hot dog truck

BERGEN COUNTY, NJ - Daniel DeMiglio can barely contain his enthusiasm. Which is understandable, considering that the 31-year-old is finally getting the chance to do what he is convinced he was “born and raised to do”: sell his family’s famous deep-fried extra-long hot dogs, Callahan’s.

More than seven years after his family closed their legendary hot dog spot on Palisades Avenue in Fort Lee, DeMiglio, the grandson of founder Leonard “Artie” Castranni, is bringing Callahan’s back – this time, on wheels. DeMiglio bought a food truck and plans on selling his dogs all over Bergen County: the very same hot dogs, he proudly assured, that his grandfather, uncle and father sold for 46 years. “I even have the original cook,” DeMiglio said. “It’s the same hot dog, the same buns, the same everything.” Oh yes, even the same price: $3 for a dog.

The only difference? Wheels. “Now I can go to the people – to weddings, to parties, to festivals.”

Find the entire article at northjersey.com <here>

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HOBOKEN, NJ - Taco Truck has until Dec. 23 to answer a lawsuit accusing it of overworking and underpaying a Hoboken employee.

the taco truck

Former Taco Truck employee, Jonathan Velazquez, lobbed a proposed collective action against the business alleging he logged upwards of 70 hours per week without being paid overtime, according to court records. Velazquez filed the suit Oct.14 in New Jersey federal court, which names the Taco Truck, CEO Jason Scott and COO Chris Viola.

The most recent court filings indicate that the restaurant has until Dec. 23 to file a response to the complaint.

Velazquez alleges in the suit that he routinely worked six days a week for 70 to 80 hours without being properly paid for the overtime hours, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law. Sometimes Velazquez had to sleep in the restaurant’s food truck because he worked too many hours, his attorney, Andrew Glenn, said Monday.

According to the complaint, he worked as a salaried cashier, driver and cook from February 2013 to September 2013. Velazquez made roughly $615 a week, Glenn said.

CEO Jason Scott said that Velazquez was fired after a series of breaches of company policy. Glenn said that his client believes that he was wrongfully terminated for complaining he needed to sleep in the company’s truck because he worked so many hours.

In a statement, Scott and Viola said that Taco Truck complies with state and federal wage and hour laws. They also said that the company sets high standards for employee policies and gauges Taco Truck’s success through “happy and loyal” customers and employees.

“We find it regrettable that one former manager has decided to file a lawsuit against our company,” they said in a statement. “We dispute his claims, which we believe have no merit.”

They declined to comment further, as the lawsuit is ongoing.

Find the entire article by Kathryn Brenzel at nj.com <here>

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rutgers grease truckNEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The grease trucks have started working on new ways to bring in revenue after they were forced to move from Lot 8 Aug. 15. The R U Hungry? Truck, for example, is going to begin a delivery service, as well as offering catering.

Beginning this week, Ayman Elnaggar, owner of the truck, said they will start delivering fat sandwiches to all campuses as a way to try and recover lost revenue after moving off Lot 8 more than two months ago. Rutgers moved them off the to build a residence hall.

All the grease trucks have seen a loss in revenue since they were forced to move to various locations around the University.

Mr. C’s lunch trucks are now located on Biel Road on Cook and outside Alexander Library on College Avenue. Just Delicious has moved to George Street outside the residence halls, and R U Hungry? sits in the former Souper Van location outside the Douglass Campus Center.

Sam Habib, owner of Just Delicious, said after the move, he has seen a significant loss of sales in his sandwiches. He attributes this mostly due to the fact that no one knows where his new location is, compared to when all the trucks were grouped together.

Find the entire article at dailytargum.com <here>

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Jersey City, NJ - A long-awaited proposal to revise Jersey City’s law governing food truck and street carts was tabled Wednesday night by the City Council after food vendors made an impassioned plea to defend their businesses from what they saw as misguided legislation. The ordinance was tabled by a vote of 8 to 1, with Council President Peter Brennan casting the sole no vote and complaining that by tabling the measure, the council was thwarting what he described as a “year and a half of work” on the issue.

Most prominently, the proposal would have included a 60-minute limit on vendors staying in one location before having to move a quarter of a mile; kept vendors at a distance of 100 feet from each other; and restricted food trucks from operating within 300 feet of a “brick and mortar” establishment.

It would also have required a background check, and brought more oversight to the application process, in the wake of the embarrassing July 2009 arrest of health department official Joseph Castagna for allegedly issuing scores of illegal vendor licences (Castagna has since retired.)

“As of today, we don’t know who’s who out there,” Brennan said, referencing Castagna’s illegally issued licenses. He added that because of the legal limbo, the city hasn’t collected any fees on the truck and cart vending licenses in over a year.

“We let this go astray for too long. We want to bring it back under control of the city, and this [ordinance] is how we have to do it,” Brennan said. “Should we make amendments to this? I believe we can. But we have children out there and we need to protect them first.”

However, the food truck vendors in attendance — representing food ranging from taco trucks to creperies to Indian food carts to a chef who changes his cart’s menu regularly — called the ordinance’s regulations unjust and misguided in intent, and questioned the “unfair burden” of proposed background checks.

“All we’re trying to do is make a living,” said Taste of India cart owner Morris Peters.

The Taco Truck CEO Jason Scott, who first aired concerns about the proposal when it was unveiled two weeks ago, again acknowledged that some areas of the proposal were necessary, in particular the regular health inspections, which he described as “long overdue.” But overall, he said, he has been “disappointed” with much of what has been proposed.

“How will [these regulations] be enforced?” asked Scott, referring to the vendor-to-vendor spacing and time limit issues. “What if a police officer sees two trucks parked 25 feet from each other and they both say they were there first? Will someone have a stopwatch to see how long they’ve been there? Will they use GPS to measure the distance?”

Natalia Caicedo of the Lucinda truck (at right) added that the 60-minute time limit was too short.

“It takes me 20 minutes to set up and 20 minutes to close up,” she said. “It’s not possible to work this way.”

She also took issue with the restrictions on trucks’ proximity to each other, pointing out that the vendors rely on creating a critical mass of food trucks, like at Harborside’s popular mini food-truck row.

“The way we operate is that we’re next to each other, this is how we create our business,” she said. “We operate in an area where there is no foot traffic, there’s nothing there, we work and we start from zero and create a lunch [area] and [our] customers are so happy.”

Food truck vendor James Saldana took issue with the city’s plan to wean the current number of licenses, which stands at 322, down to the current cap of 175. Because of the difficulties in figuring out which extra licenses were issued illegally and which weren’t, the proposed revisions to the law would allow all 322 licenses to be renewed at the start, in order to protect the city from potential lawsuits. But the changes would limit the number of license transfers to 175, in an effort to slowly reduce the number of licenses.

“We work 12 to 15 hours a day, we’re hard working people and bust our butts day and night. If the licenses are cut down to 175, the city should buy the remaining licenses out,” Saldana said. “We’re not buying them in secret; we bought them from a city official. It’s not our fault that they weren’t given out correctly.”

Find the entire article <here>

 

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Jose Goncalves, owner of “Joe’s Cafe”, was standing outside of his food  truck near Park and 7th St., in Newark, NJ, when a speeding car slammed into them last Thursday morning.

He was taken to University Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead shortly before 9 a.m., said Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

At the time of the accident Goncalves was speaking with his wife, Vania, who was also hit by the car, but not injured. No charges have yet been filed for the driver, from East Orange, who was being treated for shock at the scene.

A police investigation is ongoing.

Mobile Cuisine Magazine sends out our thoughts and best wishes to Mr. Gonclaves’ friends and family.

 

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