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Off the Wire

In Mobile Cuisine Magazine’s quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Napa Valley, Chapel Hill, Bozeman, New York, and Calgary.

Nov 11

Food trucks held to impossible standards (Editorial) – Napa Valley, CA – After reading the Saturday, Nov. 5 article, “Council wants tougher food truck regulations,” I was astonished at how disconnected the Napa City Council and some of its cohorts are from the issues that most Napans are concerned with.

Find the entire article <here>

Town may get food trucks – Chapel Hill, NC – Some Churton Street restaurant managers think allowing food trucks in Hillsborough might be good for business.

Find the entire article <here>

Nov 12

Mobile food – Bozeman, MT – A whole new foodie culture surrounds these mobile, and often surprisingly gourmet restaurants, with full kitchens packed in to small internal spaces.

Find the entire article <here>


Culinary artistry on urban wheels – New York, NY – Some of New York’s fanciest food trucks come from a nondescript one-story factory crownedwith razor wire, teeming with 15 workers arrayed on an assembly line.

Find the entire article <here>

Nov 13

Could it work here? – Calgary, Canada – With Calgary’s food truck pilot program into its fourth month, the questions arises whether the California model would work here. Could school boards partner with food trucks to rent parking lot space at night?

Find the entire article <here>


In Mobile Cuisine Magazine’s quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Dallas, Napa Valley, Toronto, Kalamazoo and Tuscaloosa.

Kalamazoo's Gorilla Gourmet

Nov 4

Sigel’s Winter Food Truck Festival Cancelled – Dallas, TX – Remember the hugely successful Summer Food Truck Festival, sponsored by Sigel’s?

Find the entire article <here>


Napa City Council wants tougher food truck regulations – Napa Valley, CA – Should food trucks be required to move when they close for business each night?

Find the entire article <here>

Nov 5

What Nonprofits Can Learn From The Food Truck Craze – I’m fascinated by the whole food truck phenomenon. We have a number of food trucks here in Boston and I just finished watching The Great Food Truck Race on The Food Network.

Find the entire article <here>


Want a food truck? Here’s where to get it made – Toronto, CA – He has such delicious mobile meal-makers under his belt as the city-famous Caplanky’s deli truck and Smoke’s Poutinerie’s delightful roving vehicle. And he says more–a lot more–are on their way.

Find the entire article <here>


Kzoo gets wild: Gorilla Gourmet – Kalamazoo, MI – The gourmet food truck experience has finally rolled into Kalamazoo.  Chef Noel A. Corwin is bringing culinary expertise from the world over and serving his art from the side of his humble food truck.

Find the entire article <here>

Nov 6

Brothers Street Eats adds flavor to Tuscaloosa – Tuscaloosa, AL – Do you ever get those late night cravings after a night out on the town, but the normal greasy fries or drive-thru Taco Bell just isn’t appealing?

UA grads Craig Williams and Jordon Warren hope to fix that with Brothers Street Eats, a new mobile food unit offering a cooked-to-order southern creole style menu that has recently opened in the downtown area.

Find the entire article <here>

Miami native Michelle Bernstein is a James Beard Award-winning chef who has made numerous television appearances, including as a regular guest judge on the Emmy-winning “Top Chef.”

Earlier this year, Chef Bernstein was part of Macy’s, “Macy’s Chefs A-Go-Go Food Truck Tour”, which was travelling around the country with chefs who are members of Macy’s Culinary Council working at each stop. Inside the Macy’s truck while in Miami at the weekly Biscayne Truck Triangle Roundup on Biscayne Boulevard and 127th Street in North Miami, Bernstein was cooking her favorite summertime recipes and dishing them out for free and some gifts from http://www.blossombucket.com/.

The chef was asked about food trucks she has eaten from, she responded with a story from one of her trips to Los Angeles, “Finally, thanks to Twitter I found what I was looking for the whole time I was in LA. The Kogi food truck with Korean Beef Tacos that are so deliciously addictive it will make you cry for more as they are driving away. Chef Roy Choi told me as he was packing up that he used to love watching me on Food Network, back in the day which made my stomach turn over, but not enough to stop me from taking another bite of his celestial cuisine.”

When asked who her favorite Miami food truck was she replied, “Probably Ms. Cheezious.”


WORCESTER, ENGLAND –  Three years after all but giving most street vendors the boot, the City Council may reopen the door — at least a bit.

The council Tuesday night asked the city administration to work with community partners to develop a downtown gourmet food truck festival for next May.

Councilor-at-Large Frederick C. Rushton, who proposed the order, said he is not looking to resurrect the often contentious debate on whether regulations governing street vendors operating in the city should be eased.

Instead, he said, he would like to bring to Worcester an event that has proven to be very successful in other communities. We got a lot of receipt rolls from http://www.retailersdirect.net/.

Mr. Rushton said gourmet food truck festivals have been held in Plymouth, Framingham and Boston (Suffolk Downs) and have attracted “tens of thousands of people.”

He said staging a similar one-day festival in downtown is worth considering.

“Let’s explore it and see how it goes,” he added. “It would put some flavor in the downtown while still respecting our brick-and-mortar businesses.”

Councilor-at-Large Kathleen M. Toomey also spoke in favor of Mr. Rushton’s order, calling it a great idea. She pointed out that the Food Channel has broadcast television shows on gourmet food truck competitions.

Find the original article <here>


CHICAGO, IL – Starfruit Cafe, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Lifeway Foods, Inc., is sending their Kefir serving food truck to Los Angeles, the Mecca of the mobile food industry, to avoid the cold Chicago winter. The move will to allow the truck to continue serving their cold Kefir during months in which many Chicagoans avoid purchasing this or similar products.

The truck which opened for business in the streets of Chicago this summer is closing it’s service window in the windy city on November 4th. The truck will be shipped across the country and will open back up in the Greater Los Angeles area as soon as permitting will allow. The truck will be accompanied by Sarah Lieb who will manage the truck during it’s LA operation. The Chicago truck manager Duro Ogundipe will stay in Chicago and will manage the Starfruit Cafe in Lincoln Park.

The Starfruit truck, which is adorned with bright images of fresh fruit and the famous frozen kefir swirl. The traveling treats, will include a rotating flavor menu with mango, pomegranate, peach, cherry, chocolate truffle and birthday cake. This product contains 22 calories and zero grams of fat per ounce.

Kefir (pronounced “kee-fur”) sold from the truck is the frozen version of Lifeway’s bubbly drink that was discovered by accident when shepherds realized fresh milk carried in leather pouches occasionally fermented into a deliciously effervescent beverage. Named for the Turkish word for “good feeling.”What differentiates kefir from yogurt is that instead of two or three probiotics, kefir contains 10 live and active probiotic cultures. These healthy bacteria are what makes their frozen treats so much more than just great tasting – the probiotics make Starfruit healthy for your body too.

Lifeway Foods, Inc. President and CEO, Julie Smolyansky says, “We wanted to take advantage of the mobile food truck trend since it allows us to deliver our unique Starfruit product on the go.”

ABOUT STARFRUIT CAFE: Launched in 2008, Starfruit Cafe is an arm of Lifeway Foods, Inc. (LWAY) – America’s leading supplier of the cultured dairy products known as kefir and organic kefir.  Made with delicious probiotic-filled Lifeway Kefir, Starfruit Cafe’s frozen treats, custom parfaits and low-fat smoothies aid digestion, support immunity, promote weight loss, and help fight lactose intolerance. Frozen treat enthusiasts are free to create their own delicious frozen kefir masterpiece with plenty of healthy toppings from which to choose. More about cost saving strategies on http://www.myboomernation.com/.

Starfruit Cafe retail stores are located at 1745 W. Division in Wicker Park; 2142 N. Halsted in Lincoln Park; Block 37, Pedway Level, 108 N. State in Chicago’s Loop; and in the Merchandise Mart at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza. Starfruit frozen kefir is also served in the main concourse concession at Wrigley Field and in the Carousel ice cream shop at Ravinia.

For more information, contact vince@starfruitcafe.com, or join the Starfruit conversation at twitter.com/starfruitcafe or facebook.com/starfruitcafe.

TAMPA, FL – Don’t know what to do for lunch today?  Why not head over to downtown Tampa to find out what the food truck craze is all about.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn is kicking off the first Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta near Gaslight Park from 11am-2pm.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn

The Mayor was so impressed by the food truck rally a few months ago in Hyde Park that attracted thousands of people, he wanted to make it a regular event in downtown.

And so, the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta was born.  The first Wednesday of every month, food trucks will line up to introduce hungry customers to the street food trend that’s gaining popularity  in Tampa Bay.

“Creating a hip downtown requires thinking outside of the box,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “This is exactly the kind of event that will generate a buzz and excitement in our urban core.”

But, some restaurant owners in downtown, like Bill Nelligar say the event is a double whammy, taking away business.

Nelligar tells 10 News he’s not happy the mayor is inviting food trucks into downtown, even if it is once a month, because it’s creating competition for the bricks and mortar restaurants that have made the commitment to downtown.  Nelligar says they’re already competing with the Downtown Market on Friday’s.

He says it makes more sense to hold these events on weekends.

There are 10 trucks slated to attend today’s event:

  • Killer Samich
  • Taco Bus
  • Burger Culture
  • Fat Tortillas
  • Jerk Hut
  • Coconut Bo’s
  • Nelly Nel’s
  • Fire Monkey
  • Gone Banana
  • Wiched ‘Wiches
Find the entire article <here>

CHICAGO, IL – On an unusually warm fall afternoon, Mike Maloney leans over the counter, offers an easy smile and asks curious customers standing outside of his shiny, red food truck if they have any questions about his menu.

One man studies the global street fare options, written on a chalkboard that’s hung on the side of the truck. He steps up and asks Maloney for the Peruvian butifarra, an aji roast pork sandwich with red onion salsa criolla and aji Amarillo pepper mayo.

Maloney, co-owner of Homage Street Food, moves methodically through his mini-commercial kitchen. He pulls the sandwich out of the warmer and grabs a paper bag and napkins from the plastic storage container that sits on an otherwise empty stainless-steel table. He delivers the order through the window, rings up the total on a cash register and marks the sale on a yellow legal pad.

Maloney, who today wears a blue T-shirt, jeans and black Chuck Taylors, brought the butifarra back to the menu to appease warm-weather fans.

“There is a huge Asian influence in Peruvian cooking, so this is like a Latin version of a banh mi sandwich,” he said. “So it’s a nice summer sandwich.”

Maloney and his wife, Elaine Toner, who worked in restaurants for several years, originally planned to open their own 20-seat restaurant. They spent time in Western Europe and Peru and wanted to introduce the unique dishes they discovered along the way.

By early 2010, Maloney said they realized that running a food truck was a more affordable option. For nearly $15,000, they bought and retrofitted a Wisconsin utility truck and purchased the supplies they’d need for the first few months of business.

When Maloney and Toner launched Homage Street Food in August, they joined a band of food trucks that regularly patrol city streets. The owners of these trucks said the ability to start up businesses with little capital gives them a chance to make a name for themselves in Chicago’s restaurant scene. They can also navigate a new, creative business model, where they communicate with customers on Twitter or Facebook.

As the food truck movement began to build, opposition surfaced from owners of restaurants and other businesses. They said food trucks fail to meet health and safety standards and bring unfair competition to restaurants since they reap customers without paying rent or property taxes.

Maloney understands these concerns, but said a compromise could keep both restaurants and food trucks happy.

“I’ve worked in restaurants,” Maloney said. “My goal is to have a restaurant. A good portion of the truck owners want to have a restaurant.

“It comes down to the choice of the consumer. If a consumer wants to go to a sit-down restaurant, that’s their choice. If they want to stop at a truck and pick up a sandwich, they should be given that choice too.”

Certain obstacles

Elizabeth Milnikel, director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School, stands on the side of the food trucks.

Several years ago, Milnikel and her law students represented a homeless man who sold flowers on the street — an illegal venture in the city. They tried to help him get licensed as a peddler, but saw little success since he had several upaid tickets, she said.

They soon began working with the Asociación de Vendedores Ambulantes, a Little Village organization that lobbies for street vendors who sell fare like tamales and elotes. They also heard that police often shut down, ticketed or arrested their vendors.

As Milnikel and her students researched further, they realized that street vendors face restrictions all over the country, she said. For example, several cities establish no-vending zones or prevent vendors from stopping unless flagged by a customer.

“Some cities are more restrictive than others,” she said. “Chicago seems to throw every restriction ever invented at these people who are trying to make an honest living.”

According to current Chicago ordinances, “mobile food dispensers,” or people who serve food from wheeled vehicles on a public way, must abstain from preparing food on the go. Instead, they must make food in a kitchen and wrap it before putting it in their trucks.

“That’s limiting to how fresh they can make their food and serve their customers on demand,” Milnikel said. “That’s a major issue, and that’s unusual to Chicago.”

Current ordinances also prohibit mobile food dispensers from serving food before 10 a.m. and from parking within 200 feet of any restaurant.

Milnikel said she heard several stories in recent months about police stopping traffic to measure the distance between food trucks and restaurants or convenience stores.

“The more we hear about how this law is being enforced and how it’s limiting people’s opportunities to start driving businesses with small amounts of capital, the harder we’re going to try to push the city to open the laws up for more people to have these kinds of opportunities,” she said.

Aaron Berlin, a soon-to-be sworn in lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, worked with the IJ clinic while in law school at the University of Chicago.

From his perspective, people involved in the push to allow more mobile vendors agree that they should be able to prepare food on trucks. He said it not only allows for interesting experimentation, but also helps someone with talent but little money start a business.

Find the entire article by Amanda Robert <here>


ST. PAUL, MN – The food truck season is almost over. Last Wednesday was the last food truck court in St. Paul, and today is the final food truck rally until spring.

But even as many food trucks shut down for the winter, others are staying open, and some are just getting started. We got in touch with a number of companies to find out who’s still open, who’s closing, and who’s closed.

A few food trucks are looking into the possibility of staying open all winter. “We want the truck to stay tough,” says Mike O’Halloran with the Barrio food truck. They’re considering equipping their truck with heaters for customers.

Fork in the Road will remain open through the winter, as will the Gastro Truck. Ditto Nate Dogs. Check their Twitter accounts for updates on where they’ll be on any given day.

Simply Steve’s also plans to be out around 10th and Nicollet throughout the winter, when it’s above 20 degrees and there’s no snow. “I’m sure I’ll also be on Marquette between Sixth and Eighth,” says owner Steve Ramlow.

Other mobile eateries plan to close sometime in November. Hola Arepa is closing November 4, this Friday. Potter’s Pasties is aiming to finish up November 26. Vellee Deli will announce a date on its website this week and guesses it’ll be “mid-November.”

The Chef Shack is looking at December 1 as a potential last day. “It’s Minnesota,” explains Lisa Carlson. “If it’s nice out we will be out.”

Josh Thoma at the Smack Shack says he’ll let the consumer set his deadline.

“When people stop coming is what we’ve been telling our guests,” Thoma says. On the other hand, he says, “We serve every night at 1029 Bar, inside, so if people still want a lobster roll they can always come here.”

Some trucks have already closed for the winter.

128 Cafe is closed for the season, as are Dandelion Kitchen and World Street Kitchen, both of which finished up last Friday. Chef Sameh Wadi also suggested to City Pages that plans “might change,” so check their Twitter.

Find the entire article <here>

When most trucks in the mobile food industry carry at least 1 ton of kitchen equipment and get gas mileage similar to a heavy duty commercial big rig, a restaurant owner in Austin Texas has gone the completely opposite direction by using a Smart Car as their food truck’s platform to deliver a Doner Kebap, or Turkish meat sandwich. The basic curb weight of this vehicle is 1,800 lbs.

Co-founders of The Verts Kebap restaurant; Domenik Stein and Michael Heyne, two German engineering students from the University of Texas, said they have a passion for street food and engineering, and they wanted to combine the two to compete in the Austin food truck market.

These two were able to fit refrigeration units, food warmers, sinks and a custom tent into their 2011 Smart Car, with a plan is to sell sandwiches for 90 minutes every day at one locations, then clean and re-stock the car at the restaurant before heading off to another location for another 90-minute stint.

Last week we reported on an all electric truck platform, and now with the Verts Kebap Truck navigating around Austin, there really are some fantastic ideas the mobile food industry can use to green itself.

You can follow this new Austin food truck on Twitter <here>

In Mobile Cuisine Magazine’s quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Orange Country, Detroit, Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Worth and Chapel Hill.

Oct 28

Corporate food trucks invade streets – ORANGE COUNTY, CA – The food truck craze is taking a controversial detour from its indie roots, as a rash of corporate-run restaurant trucks invades the streets of Southern California.

Find the entire article <here>


Mobile dining in the Motor City: From indie fad to new industry? – DETROIT, MI – Much like a first kiss or trip to Europe, you just never forget your first food truck meal.

Find the entire article <here>

Oct 29

Be KIND: Help Feed Senior Citizens This Thanksgiving – LOS ANGELES, CA – The KIND Food Truck will roll into L.A. in support of KIND Tuesday, making a special stop in downtown to offer its treats during the special day of kindness.

Find the entire article <here>


Quaker Celebrates National Oatmeal Day With First-Ever Quaker Oats Mobile – CHICAGO, IL – Celebrity Fitness Trainer Bob Harper Hits The Road Bringing A Super Grain Breakfast To Chicagoans

Find the entire press release <here>

Oct 30

Mobile entrepreneurs get jump-start from business school – FORT WORTH, TX – Starting a business can be tough under any conditions, but especially now, in our less-than-stable economy.

Find the entire article <here>


Chapel Hill questions whether to let food trucks roll in – CHAPEL HILL, NC – The food truck debate continues in Chapel Hill as town government attempts to find a happy medium with community requests and issues involved in regulation.

Find the entire article <here>

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