ROCHESTER, NY – If you think food trucks are new, Richard Gigliotti of Greece will give you some perspective.
As an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University, he would frequently buy a late-night egg sandwich from a truck parked in front of his dorm. The sandwich was good, but what really drew him was seeing the workers inside having a lot of fun. Gigliotti decided then and there that he too would some day own a food truck.
That dream finally came true last year. Papa Gig’s has joined the new wave of mobile vendors who are reviving street food through colorful truck makeovers, traditional and inventive menus and habitual use of social media.
“It’s even more fun than I thought it would be,” says the 64-year-old retired biology teacher.
Today, food trucks feed downtown workers, the late-night bar crowd, festival- and concert-goers, farmers market customers and concert-goers as well as parking at several events focused solely on mobile food. Capitalizing on the success of the Food Truck Rodeos at the Rochester Public Market, additional food truck convoys are planned for Avon, Farmington, Pittsford and the Genesee Brew House. Several Rochester-area trucks plan to travel to Buffalo for that city’s Food Truck Tuesdays.
The city’s food truck pilot program has been expanded and extended to the end of this year, adding eight more approved center city locations. The city is also likely to approve an increase in the number of times a truck can vend at a private business or nonprofit from two to 60.
Members of the Rochester Food Truck Alliance are still pushing City Council to approve vending on residential property, says Lizzie Clapp, co-owner of Le Petit Poutine. Those revisions could go to City Council next month.
“It has been a slow progression,” says Clapp, who started her business in 2011.
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