ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Food trucks parked along Atlantic and Pacific avenues waiting for the lunchtime rush may sound like a dream come true for food lovers.

But before that can happen, the city must develop rules and regulations as it looks to take advantage of the growing food truck industry, which is expected to total more than $2.7 billion over the next couple of years, according to a national report.

Proponents of food trucks claim the colorful, mobile kitchens provide more than just meals. They are an attraction — a noncasino one — by themselves.

Critics, including Irish Pub owner Cathy Burke, say the trucks would harm brick-and-mortar properties already facing crippling tax burdens. Last year Burke paid $95,000 in property taxes, something food trucks would not have to pay, Burke said.

“What makes Atlantic City different is that you have to compete with free,” Burke said referring to the casino industry. “You don’t compete with free. I see these food trucks as the final nail in the coffin.”

The resort currently has rules for food trucks at special events, like the Atlantic City Food Truck Festival, but nothing governing the day-to-day operations of them, city officials said.

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