AMARILLO, TX – Hundreds eagerly tracked the participants in the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” on social media and then turned out to buy their offerings when they arrived in Amarillo.

But when the trucks headed west, the city was left with what some consider an almost-nonexistent food truck community.

One theory is the city just isn’t cool enough.

Scott Buchanan, who gave up trying to get through what he describes as a forest of paperwork and dropped the idea of running a food truck, said “maybe Amarillo is just not hip to the vibe.”

That goes for the government as much as the community.

“It feels like the local government is handcuffing the industry,” Buchanan said. “It may take more young people getting involved.”

Instead Buchanan and wife Rin opened Yellow City Street Food in a small building where they serve drive-up customers the sort of food the more creative trucks do.

“We’ve used it as our food truck without wheels and have been able to accomplish everything we wanted to,” he said.

When asked why Amarillo has a less lively food truck scene, Travis County Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Carole Barash said, “maybe it’s the culture.”

Austin, while notably larger than Amarillo, reported more than 1,400 mobile food vendors permitted in the city and Travis County in 2012. Amarillo has 69 permitted, and they range from pushcarts to food trucks, but the city report doesn’t differentiate. The names of the businesses indicate at least half are snow cone stands. Judging from the permit list, customers should be hungry mostly for tacos, tamales, burritos and snow cones.

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