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Food Truck News

In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry we have compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Houston, Toronto, Fitchburg and Portland.

April 4

Detox Truck brings a healthy change to Houston’s food truck scene – HOUSTON, TX - The Detox Truck is helping put a fresh spin on the food truck scene in Houston.

Husband and wife team Aaron and Melanie Greeley created a menu of fresh-pressed juices, protein-packed salads, and nutritious smoothies that promise big nutrition without busting your calorie budget.

Find the entire article <here>

Mayoral candidates come out to talk food trucks – TORONTO, CANADA - Council’s food truck regulation debate lured all three major mayoral candidates to Nathan Phillips Square Thursday, where four popular vendors staged a rally at lunchtime.

Find the entire article <here>

April 5

Massachusetts couple gets deeper into farming - FITCHBURG, MA — Jim Lattanzi is no stranger to hard work. At 29, he has operated a highly successful food-truck business, started a farm in his Hollis Hills backyard with wife Allison and expanded the business to include maple sugaring.

Find the entire article <here>

April 6

Food carts downtown hit by string of break-ins – PORTLAND, OR - Half a dozen food carts in downtown Portland were hit again Friday night after more than a month of break-ins.

Find the entire article <here>

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portland maine food truck mapPORTLAND, ME - Food truck owners want Portland to make it easier for them to operate in all city parks, including Monument Square.

James Dinsmore of Wicked Good Truck feeds the parking meter Monday. The food truck’s owner wants Portland’s ordinance changed.

But the proposal, which will be reviewed Tuesday by the City Council’s Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee, is facing resistance from the city staff and at least one restaurant owner.

Mike Roylos, who owns the Spartan Grill in Monument Square, said that allowing food trucks to park in the square and serve food would hurt his established business.

“We’ve been barely able to survive this winter,” he said.

Roylos said he supports food trucks as long as they don’t compete with traditional restaurants, which pay rent and property taxes. Monument Square is lined with restaurants that cater to lunch and after-work crowds.

“It would be nice if they went along with the original idea of having food trucks in areas where there was no food,” he said. “There is quite a bit of food out here.”

Portland began allowing food trucks in 2012, joining a growing number of U.S. cities that have embraced mobile restaurants and providing a new fleet of dining choices to Portland’s foodies and downtown workers.

Find the entire article at pressherald.com <here>

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Jordan Epping Food CartPORTLAND, OR - He owns a business and he doesn’t even have his driver’s license yet.

A Keizer boy was thrilled to get his business cooking in a mobile food cart that he’d saved up to buy.

But it was stolen right after he bought it.

“I’m taking French class and we made crepes. It’s really interesting,” said 14-year-old Jordan Epping.

That lesson inspired Epping to make crepes and sell them out of a food cart.

“I’ve always been interested in starting a business and this crepe business sounded like a really good idea,” he said.

Last week, Epping bought a cart off of Craigslist.

He used all his savings.

“It was originally listed for $400, but the guy was on Craigslist so long I got it for $150,” he said.

Jordan had plans to fix it up with corrugated metal, install a sink and sell crepes.

“I’ve actually already registered as the sole proprietor with the IRS,” he said.

His menu cover shows the name of his business: La Crepe Ape.

“I actually had my grandpa lined up to be an investor, for three percent,” he said.

But on Monday, someone stole the cart from a locked storage lot in Salem.

The storage lot was closed that day and they don’t have cameras.

“It would really be nice to get it back because of the time and the money,” said the teen.

Jordan just wants the cart back so he can get his business rolling.

The cart was so new that it wasn’t insured, yet.

His mom filed a police report with Keizer police.

On Friday afternoon, Epping said someone found his cart on the side of Gregg Butler Auto Body Shop in Jefferson and that he’s got it back.

Persistence is the first ingredient to any success.

Find the original article by Erica Heartquist at KGW.com <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry we have compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Lafayette, Tonawanda and Portland.

OTW Logo food truck newsMarch 7

Food on wheels: Is it safe? – LAFAYETTE, LA - Hungry patrons flock to Lafayette’s food trucks like kids chasing down an ice cream truck on a steamy July afternoon.

The popularity of food trucks has led to more than 20 of them in Lafayette selling anything from waffles and Italian food to hot dogs and fries with unique toppings.

But can you trust that the food is safe when it’s served from a truck instead of a restaurant?

Find the entire article <here>

March 8

Tensions flare in Tonawanda between food trucks, restaurants – TONAWANDA, NY - Visitors to Niawanda Park may soon be able to purchase a burrito, sandwich or hot dog from their favorite food truck if a resolution before the Tonawanda Common Council goes forward.

But, as in other municipalities that have considered allowing the popular rolling kitchens, tensions are flaring between the trucks and their bricks-and-mortar competitors, Mississippi Mudds and Old Man River.

Find the entire article <here>

March 9

Food-cart scene tastes like a global scavenger hunt - PORTLAND, OR - The many accolades earned by chefs in this city are rooted in what the land offers. They succeed by adaptation to their environment.

That’s especially true with the city’s bustling food cart scene, which has become an incubator for great restaurants. Whether inspired by Norwegian comfort food, Peace Corps missions to the Republic of Georgia, or Thai “chaos in a bowl,” the menus reinvigorate and challenge both customer and chef to think harder and dream bigger.

Find the entire article <here>

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GREENVILLE, S.C. —The operators of the food truck that led the way for others in the city of Greenville made a shocking announcement on their Facebook page Monday.

Neue South Portland

Neue Southern Food Truck owner and Chef Lauren Zanardelli’s post says,

“Graham and I have some news we’d like to share with you. It’s kind of a bomb, so I’m just gonna drop it. Graham and I are moving to Portland, Oregon this spring. We know this comes as a huge surprise. It’s all happened extremely quickly. What seemed like some vague, distant idea became a reality overnight, and we’re still in a state of shock ourselves!

“Graham and I knew when we started our business that our future would always be a little unpredictable. From the time we opened until now, we’ve been asked what our next step will be, and that question, at best, has been met by us with shrugs. We’ve known that in a few years time we want to be working toward opening our brick and mortar restaurant. But until recently, we didn’t know what the years in between would hold. We spent the last six months exploring every possible direction. What can I say. We’ve both dreamed about one day living on the west coast. And we’re so fortunate to have this opportunity to spend a few years in a progressive culinary city. We’ll be learning and absorbing everything we can before we move back east to kill it in OUR restaurant. We feel like we need to take it.

“Bittersweet is too ineffectual a word to describe this move. Still having so much we want to learn, we’re ridiculously excited to be moving to a city that revolves around its dining culture and has city blocks lined in mobile eateries. And at the same time, I cry like a baby when I think of what it’s going to mean to say goodbye to all of you as this adventure comes to a close. I struggle to find the words… I’ve rewritten this post more times than I care to publicly admit, and every time I reread it, I hate it. It just doesn’t begin to do our feelings justice.

“We know how much this sucks for our fans, but we hope that you can be happy for us. It’s not going to be even a little easy to leave, so we could really use your support! It would make a world of difference for Graham and me. We seriously don’t know what we’ll do without you. Our very last service is on Saturday, March 15 at The Community Tap –the parking spot that brought our truck to Greenville, and the place where this all started.

“We hope we get a chance to see and feed all of you these next two weeks. But it’s not goodbye yet! We’re going to make the very best of every minute we have left on our truck. You’ve made this the most remarkable experience of our lives to date. To say we love you for it barely scratches the surface.  Cheers to you, Greenville.”

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Love Cupcakes Portland

image from Facebook

PORTLAND, ME – Love Cupcakes, which describes itself as “Portland Maine’s First Food Truck,” is for sale with an asking price of $52K, according to a flyer posted on its Facebook page. Included in the asking price are a mobile kitchen in a renovated 1987 Chevy van (with generator), a renovated 1967 trailer with a freezer and small kitchen, the recipes, website and social media accounts.

The cupcake truck could most recently be found in Newry, slinging treats at Sunday River. The price is negotiable and owners Anna and Joey Turcotte are willing to consider selling off the pieces separately. From Facebook: “We’d love to sell the business as a whole, but we’ve already been approached by multiple people who are interested in specific assets. Please contact us as there has been a price reduction from when this ad was initially created.”

Find the entire article at eater.com <here>

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portland-oregonPORTLAND, OR - Food carts have been part of Portland’s downtown street scene for decades but they weren’t specifically called out as a key to Portland’s retail strategy.

Indeed, the 2009 Downtown Retail strategy identified the parking lot at Southwest Tenth Avenue and Alder Street as a prime redevelopment opportunity. Tell that to the dozens of food carts operating at the lot or their dedicated fans and customers.

Scott Andrews, chairman of the Portland Development Commission and a real estate industry executive, went so far as to call the proliferation of carts and pedestrian activity a form of development.

Find the entire article at katu.com <here>

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Portland_Maine_Food Truck

Photo by Corey Templeton

PORTLAND, ME — Portland loosened up its ordinance regulating the city’s burgeoning food truck scene Monday, giving the mobile eateries more freedom to cluster together and stay parked longer in city spaces.

After trending on national television shows like the Food Network’s “ Great Food Truck Race” and seeing high-profile growth in cities like New York and Washington, D.C., food trucks were legalized in Portland during the summer of 2012.

By the time the 2013 summer season was ramping up in May, eight permanent food trucks had obtained permits to do business in Portland, but operators quickly began complaining that the rules initially put in place to govern the so-called mobile vendors were too restrictive.

Initially, the fees and space regulations approved by the Portland City Council represented a compromise between food truck owners, who wanted their businesses allowed, and traditional restaurateurs, who worried about competition.

With a unanimous vote Monday night, the council turned the dial back in the favor of the food truck owners.

City Councilor Ed Suslovic told his fellow councilors Monday the proposed changes reflect the types of regulations the city’s food truck task force intended initially, but were lost in translation as the ordinance language was drafted.

A slate of ordinance changes approved by the council at its regular meeting, among other things, strikes language preventing food trucks from being stationed any closer than 65 feet from one another on the peninsula — the part of Portland south of Interstate 295 — or 200 feet from one another in the rest of the city.

That step will allow food trucks to gather close together in food court-style clusters during festivals or on streets with high tourist traffic, but few restaurants.

Find the entire article by Seth Koenig at bangordailynews.com <here>

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softshell-crab-burger euro trash food cart portlandPORTLAND, OR - It should be no surprise that a Portland food cart menu item is listed on Foder’s recent list of 12 “Must Eat” World Street Food Dishes list. Along side dishes such as Currywurst from Germany and Fried Tarantulas from Cambodia, the soft shell crab burger from the EuroTrash cart made their favorites list. Here is the write up from Lawrence Ferber:

Portland’s “food pod” scene is the mothership of still-spreading food truck culture, with hundreds of amazing port-a-kitchens serving everything from Chinese dumplings to salmon chowder. An “Americanized spin on European street food,” the EuroTrash cart is beloved for its fried Spanish anchovies (aka Fishy Chips), fresh potato chips with chorizo, cilantro, and curry aioli, and their signature Soft Shell Crab Burger, an addictive tempura-battered creation on a toasted bun with a dollop of spicy mayo-yogurt.

Where to Get it:EuroTrash at Downtown’s SW 10th & Washington or the Good Food Here pod on SE 43rd & Belmont.

Find the entire list on Foders.com <here>

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PORTLAND, OR - Let the naysayers be warned. The mobile food industry is far from a fad and is only going to grow.

roam conference

That was my biggest take away from the first ever ROAM Conference this weekend in Portland, Oregon.

We flew in from Chicago late Friday night not knowing what to expect, but the unknown quickly changed as we took the TriMET train to our hotel. It was late and it had been a long day, but as we were determining where we needed to get off the train, I glanced over to see the gentleman sitting next to me was reading some ROAM literature. I introduced myself and found that  the gentleman just so happened to be Brad Moore. Brad is the owner of Short Leash Hot Dogs from Phoenix. He was here for ROAM and was looking forward to the  speakers and networking opportunity the conference was providing.

The event started early, but you would have never known that the attendees were coming from literally around the world. The buzz being generated was not from individuals suffering from jet lag, but from those who were excited to discuss mobile food and learn from some of the biggest names in the industry.

The crowd was broken up onto two separate conference rooms. One for existing food truck owners and food truck organizers. The other group was for the bushy tailed newbies. The individuals who wanted to know if or how they could enter this fantastic industry of culinary entrepreneurs. I was asked and gladly accepted to moderate the discussion in the boot camp session.

While a large majority of the participants in the boot camp were from Oregon, there were individuals from as far away at Vietnam. The aspiring mobile food vendors ferociously took notes and questioned the speakers who spoke on topics such as:

  • Lizzy Caston: The Business Game Plan - Concept/Brand/Business Plan
  • Rick Humphrey and Scott Ross: The Wheels & The Tools – Truck vs. Cart, Rent vs. Buy
  • Stephanie Ganz and Barb Upchurch: It’s all about the Money – Crowd Funding, Assistance Programs & Loans
  • Matt Hoffman: Getting Legal – Permits, City Codes, Commissary Kitchens & Waste
  • Matt Breslow: Getting Ready – Selecting Vendors, Sourcing, Menu Planning & Production
  • Ginnette Wessel: Marketing 101
  • Brian Reed: Avoiding the most common mistakes

In the other room, existing mobile food vendors touched on topics such as business growth, profitability, trademark laws, sustainability and social media marketing.

At lunch we all gathered together to hear about the state of the industry from the president and CEO of the SOCALMFVA, Matt Geller. We were treated to lunch from Portland vendors Retrolicious and Bro-Dogs.

There was a lot of information and business cards shared during the day, but even as the formal discussions ended, we all loaded on buses (did I mention with local beer) and headed out to the Rose City Cart Pod for diner. This was my first trip to Portland and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a visit to my first PDX cart pod. As we off loaded from the bus, I was greeted with a very familiar scene.

Just as I have witnessed in cities across the country, this food cart pod was full of smiling vendors taking orders from smiling customers. Those that had already been served or were waiting for their orders were talking with those surrounding them, even if they had just met them while in line. The food and beer were being enjoyed by individuals and groups and the overall sense you would take from being there was one of comfort.

People often ask me to describe the mobile food industry, I think my trip to Portland and the ROAM Conference has cemented my opinion as, “Good people serving great food to enthusiastic customers. ”

If you missed the chance to attend, I hope that there is another conference in the near future for you to check out.

I would like to again thank the promoters of the 2013 ROAM Conference for allowing me to take part in your inaugural event.

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