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Saint Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO – As food trucks proliferate, tension builds between mobile vendors and immovable eateries.

Cha Cha Chow
Cha Cha Chow image from showmefoodtrucks.com

At first glance the map of permissible vending locations that the City of St. Louis provides to newly licensed food trucks looks like the damage report from a London Blitz-style air strike downtown. A red dot marks the entrance of every brick-and-mortar restaurant, and a pale blue circle surrounds each dot, marking a 200-foot radius within which food trucks aren’t allowed to park. The map covers nearly all of downtown, bounded by Interstate 70/55 to the east, 18th Street to the west, Cole Street to the north and Chouteau Avenue to the south. In the heart of downtown, where most office workers are concentrated and, consequently, where food-truck operators most want to be, those pale blue circles overlap again and again, forming an almost-contiguous quilt of off-limits real estate.

Yet even in the densest blue clusters, the map reveals splotches of space open to food trucks. Prime locations, such as the intersection of Eighth and Pine streets and Market Street at Broadway, are marked with a blue star, designating them as “recommended” spots for food trucks.

But real life seldom approaches the perfection of circles and stars, and there has been friction between mobile vendors and rooted restaurants almost from the get-go. As the number of trucks continues to multiply — totaling nearly two dozen at last count, serving everything from fish tacos to Korean tacos to gyros to wood-fired pizzas to “deconstructed” sushi rolls — so does the likelihood that some interested party is being rubbed the wrong way.

Around Christmastime the bickering boiled over onto Twitter, when a restaurateur called police complaining that a food-truck operator had parked right outside his establishment on Broadway. The interloper was sent packing, prompting apocalyptic tweets from fellow vendors that their kind was “no longer welcome” at the popular confluence of Broadway and Pine Street nearby. (For more about the dustup, see the RFT‘s December 29, 2011, “Short Orders” column.)

The City of St. Louis and the rest of the metro area have been playing catch-up to varying degrees since the food-truck boom began.

The city opted to cover the trucks under an existing vending ordinance that had been created to regulate hot-dog carts and the like, including the ad hoc cadre of hawkers who pop up like mushrooms when the baseball season gets under way.

“Under that ordinance, they cannot be anywhere but downtown in the approved vending zone,” explains Kara Bowlin, press secretary to Mayor Francis Slay. (A “pilot” program calls for a $500 annual permit fee for food trucks, Bowlin says, adding that the city has yet to settle on a yearly rate and noting that some vendors pay as much as $6,000 a year to lay exclusive claim to a spot.) Because the vending ordinance didn’t account for potential conflict between mobile eateries and their brick-and-mortar brethren, the city’s Department of Streets developed the 200-foot rule.

Find the entire article <here>

You may have missed it, but the mobile food industry is growing faster than anyone would have guessed two years ago. It can be difficult to keep up with the new trucks and carts as they pop up throughout the country. Because of this, Mobile Cuisine Magazine assists our readers weekly by posting the names and information about these trucks, so if they happen to be in your area, you can begin to follow them, or at least keep any eye out for them on the roads and cart pods.

This week’s new entries are:

getta polpetta

Chicago, IL

Getta Polpetta Truck

Twitter: @GettaPolpetta

Philadelphia, PA

Lucky Old Souls

Twitter: @LOSBurgerTruck

Grass-fed burgers, hand-cut fries, & thick shakes all made with fresh, locally produced ingredients. And great music playing from our roof-mounted speakers.


Salt Lake City, UT


Twitter: @eatbeli


St. Louis, MO

Chop Shop STL

Twitter: @ChopShopStl


Tampa, FL

Cafe Getaway

Twitter: @CafeGetaway

Cafe Getaway brings coffees, lattes, teas, smoothies, frappes and snow cones right to you! Find us on our weekday route, at markets, or book us to come to you.


Tasty Stacy

Twitter: @Tasty_Stacy

Best Eats On The Streets! Serving homemade hot and cold sandwiches, pastas, soups, salads, and desserts! It’ll be the best homemade cuisine you’ll ever have!


Tucson, AZ


Twitter: @MaFooCo

The Mexican-Asian Food Company @MaFooCo will bring a new perspective to the culinary scene in Tucson. Wait and experience true fusion.


If you are aware of any new rolling bistros, please let us know so that we can add them to our weekly listing of new food trucks as they hit the streets near you. Email us at MFV@mobile-cuisine.com


St. Louis, MO – Tom Broadwell gets plenty of attention driving his 1955 pickup truck, but it’s what he had in the back over the weekend that attracted the attention of a crook.

Papa Tom's Gateway Dog House

“Which was a generator and 100 feet of 50 amp copper electrical cable,” said Broadwell.

Somebody stole the stuff. The $4,000 generator powered Broadwell’s food truck, Papa Tom’s Gateway Dog House, and no power won’t cut the mustard.

“I can’t say it on camera what I really thought but, you know, how do I go from here,” said Broadwell.

Broadwell borrowed a generator to keep the hotdog wagon rolling, but turned to social media to help turn the wheels of justice.

The hotel gave him a copy of its security footage (adt reviews), and Broadwell posted it on Facebook and sent out alerts on Twitter.

The video shows what looks like a light colored jeep pull up. Then what appears to be a man approaching and eventually wheeling off the generator.

“I figured hey maybe somebody knows a person who looks like this that drives that vehicle and, yeah, we’ll see how it goes,” said Broadwell.

Broadwell also reported the theft to police.

Watch the video <here>

Find the original article <here>

As the culture of street food grows, some St. Charles council members think the city should reconsider policy.

ST. CHARLES, MO – Donald Abbey has a very large family and somehow he’s the one who always ends up getting stuck cooking. “It’s always been a passion and a hobby of mine since I was a little kid,” he said.

Now Abbey’s hobby has become his career. He serves barbecue out of a trailer near Discount Smoke Shop on Veterans Memorial Parkway. When Abbey first opened his business, he didn’t know his business was located in the city of St. Charles. Abbey was operating with a St. Charles County license for six weeks until he was informed that the city had recently annexed that property.

He said he was not confident he would receive a permit because the city has turned down many street food vendors.

Abbey said while getting the St. Charles County permit was “a breeze,” the permit for vending in St. Charles City was not as easy. “It was a long process, tedious, but we got it done,” Abbey said.

While St. Charles County only requires that the business owner sign a commissary agreement and pass inspections, the permit must pass through both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council to be approved in St. Charles.

Abbey now pays an extra 1 percent tourist tax because he operates near the Embassy Suites and the St. Charles Convention Center. Abbey said if he were in the county, just up the street or across the road from where his trailer sits, he wouldn’t have to pay the tax.

“If I would have been over there, I wouldn’t have it. But I’m here,” Abbey said.

Municipalities in St. Charles County have very different rules and regulations when it comes to food trucks.

St. Peters, for example, has never granted a permit for a food truck who wasn’t catering an event. Ann Burgdorf with the St. Peters business license office said street food vendors are sometimes discouraged by St. Peter’s strict regulations.

“We do get inquiries and once we make them aware, they are usually a catering truck or they don’t apply with us,” Burgdorf said.

The city of O’Fallon does not allow food trucks at all.

Perhaps the easiest place to get a license is in St. Louis City.

Jeff Pupillo is co-owner of the mobile cupcake van, Sarah’s Cake Stop, and a member of the St. Louis Food Trucks Association. Pupillo said the city has gone from four food trucks to 19 within the past few months.

This March, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay worked with food trucks and restaurants to help craft ordinances that were made to benefit to both parties.

“It’s been the Mayor’s office that realized the food trucks can create an energy downtown,” Pupillo said.

Pupillo said the food truck culture is growing in the Midwest, and members of the St. Louis Food Truck Association have seen a demand for street food in St. Charles.

Find the entire article <here>


ST LOUIS, MO – Recently Mother Jones writer Tom Philpott advised “foodies” to join the Occupy Wall Street movement, since the corporate food industry is a part of the Wall Street greed being protested.

For two St. Louis small food businesses, they were already there. But when Guerrilla Streetfood and the Falafelwich Wagon provided free food at the Occupy St. Louis site last week, it was for reasons beyond the political.

In a joint email, Guerrilla Streetfood’s Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo said, “The truth is, we didn’t do this as some sort of grand political gesture. This was a gesture of kindness, pure and simple.

“Further, our understanding of the Occupy Movement, at least the way it has been explained to us, is that it isn’t a political movement at all. It’s about the people’s general dissatisfaction with the state of the economy, the lack of jobs and the power and influence that corporations have in this country. And from what I understand, the protesters aren’t supporting either major political party.

“But of course people are quick to assign political attachments, and I guess that is what some people want to do to us. However, when we give free lunches to firefighters and police officers, which we have always done, and have Tweeted about, no one tried to attach political views or agendas to that.”

Gary Tripp, president of Inside Hospitality, which owns the Falafelwich Wagon, said, “Our decision in donating food to them was no way politically motivated, and to be honest, has nothing to do with the cause or even our belief in the cause. It’s pretty simple — we had food that was not sold, and it’s the right thing to do.”

The political repercussions of their donations have been quiet. Crespo and Hardesty dealt with some fallout. “There has been a little bit of disapproval expressed on the social networks, but to be honest, I think we gained support tenfold in terms of new followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook as a result of people responding to those few disapproving folks. Honestly, I think it was all blown way out of proportion. Like I said, we weren’t making any kind of statement. We just had some extra food and there were some hungry people, so we did what we do. We fed them.”

Tripp’s more blunt on the matter. “We haven’t received any type of fallout or feedback from any of our guests, and really could care less if we do.”

Both companies say their donations to the Occupy St. Louis protesters, who’ve been camping in downtown’s Kiener Plaza for a month, are no different from other food donations they’ve made.

Find the entire article by Robin Wheeler <here>

ST. LOUIS, MO – A U.S. District judge ruled Monday that the food truck known as the Mangia Mobile has to stop using its name.

In July the popular Tower Grove restaurant, Mangia Italiano, sued Mangia Mobile for having a “deceptively similar” name.  Mangia Italiano accused the truck operators of using the name to deliberately confuse customers into thinking that the companies were affiliated.  One of the restaurant’s own servers even believed the two were related, according to court documents.

The food truck said, however, that the name used a common Italian word — mangia, meaning “eat” — and there was no deliberate deception.  The truck’s attorney proposed a “toasted ravioli smackdown” between the two companies to determine which produces the best dish The winner would get to keep the name.

On Monday, Judge Carol E. Jackson issued a preliminary injunction, saying the food truck has to stop using the name.  Jackson wrote that the food truck “has taken advantage of the reputation and goodwilll plaintiff has acquired in its 28 years of business. Defendant’s public statements and cavalier attitude suggest that its motivation for doing so was either to make a fast buck or for publicity or both– all at defendant’s expense.”

A hearing will be held Tuesday to determine what steps the food truck needs to take to comply with the court’s decision.

Please note: Mobile Cuisine Magazine will continue to follow this story and update you as it changes. The next thing we know, some restaurant is going to sue a food truck over the use of “food” in their name next.

Find the original article <here>



We at Mobile Cuisine would like to thank Catherine Daake- (Twitter: @MANGIAMOBILE) of Mangia Mobile – St. Louis and Jeff Pupillo (Twitter: @SARAHSCAKESTOP) – Sarah’s Cake Stop-St. Louis for allowing us to reprint this list.

Look out! Food trucks are on the St. Louis food scene. There’s been plenty of chatter about the new concept, and while mostly positive, there are some misconceptions about the food truck business that we would like to address. So here you have it – the top ten misconceptions about food trucks as we see it!

10. We have sub-standard quality food.

Sometimes the best food comes out of the smallest kitchens, just ask your grandma. Most of the food trucks have trained chefs and put out some of the finest food here in St. Louis out of little kitchens. If we produced sub-standard food our customers will let us know or we will be out of business. So remember, no matter what anyone tells you, size doesn’t matter.

9.  We are above the law and park anywhere we want.

Unlike Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Chuck Norris, we are not the law and do not think we are above the law (who wants to mess with Chuck Norris?). Seriously, we work with the city to abide by all ordinances and laws and are ticketed if we do not. In fact the rules surrounding the food trucks are tough.  For instance, we are required to stay 200 feet from any established restaurant. Not so easy downtown!

8. We don’t get inspected by the health department.

Of course we do! Just because we move around doesn’t mean inspectors can’t find us! They have magnifying glasses, duh! But seriously, we all follow the same protocol and guidelines as brick and mortar restaurants and show our “A” grades with pride. Check them out!

7. We park where we are not wanted.

Um, why would we do that? Our customers request our services at our many locations and if we thought the majority of the people at any location did not want us there we would find a new spot. We are mobile after all!

6. We have a competitive advantage.

We certainly have a different business model but we don’t always have an advantage. You know how hard it is to find parking downtown, right?? And not to mention factors out of our control – if it rains, snows, is too hot or too cold, or aliens are attacking us, our business is negatively affected. And bottom line, if we don’t put out quality products people will stop showing up like any other business. And we like people – even as much as we like food.

5. We make lots of money in a short amount of time.

Ha! We wish it were that easy. Most of our time is spent with prep work before we hit the streets. Once the windows close its back to our shops and commissaries to clean, prep for next day, do paper work, keep up with social media and emails and of course scheme on how we are going to bring down the brick and mortars…..I digress. Seriously our work day starts early and goes late into the night.

4. We don’t pay taxes.

We promise, we are legitimate businesses registered with federal and state governments, with business licenses in many different local municipalities. Not only do we pay taxes, we keep track of every city we sell in and pay the appropriate sales tax. Some food trucks pay taxes to over 10 different municipalities monthly. We also pay federal and state employment taxes as well as the St. Louis City 1% special Tax.  We pay personal property taxes on the truck along with many other taxes. There is nothing funny about taxes…so we will leave the comedy to the other 9 misconceptions. 

3. Food trucks have almost zero overhead.

HA HA HA! We all have to keep a roof over-our-head to keep those Tacos from getting wet. Not only do we have overhead but some of the upfront costs of a fully equipped food truck can be more than some restaurants.  We all have additional fees related to commissaries, gas (yikes!), back office costs (to track and pay those taxes we supposedly don’t pay!), truck maintenance and more licenses than we can list.

2. We are pirates and only take and do not give back.

Just because we take paaaaarrghking spaces does not mean we don’t give back to the community. Many of us support local businesses, using them as suppliers and even promoting those businesses around our stops. Almost all the food trucks work with charitable organizations around the community  some even donating food at the end of the day to local food banks.

1. Really did we say 10???

Ok so we are not the most clever and probably wont have an invitation to write for David letterman but we do have great food and have lots of fun.

In summary, food trucks have seen a huge surge in popularity but also a misunderstanding of the true business and challenges we as food truck vendors face each day. We hope you will give your food truck vendors a shot and think you will be surprised at the quality of the food these talented chef and cooks are serving on your local streets. And remember: please eat responsibly. (That phrase is now trademarked by the Food Truck Association of St Louis)

Catherine Daake- Mangia Mobile–St. Louis–she likes it saucy!

Jeff Pupillo- Sarah’s Cake Stop–St. Louis–he likes it sweet!

The original list can be found <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.


Sartell ordinance stalls food truck vendor – Sartell, MN – The St. Cloud area’s first food truck vendor, The Grub Truck, hit a road bump Thursday after mistakenly breaking a Sartell city ordinance.

Find entire article <here>


Rules set for food trucks – Maryland Heights, MO – A Maryland Heights code change adopted Thursday regulates food trucks and other “itinerant merchants.”

Find entire article <here>


Street food: the latest rage – United Kingdom – Meet the street food traders transforming the takeaway – and try some of their recipes

Find entire article <here>

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