CLEVELAND, OH – For Izzy Schachner of Streat Mobile Bistro, the arrival of spring means one thing — food truck season. With popular food truck events like Walnut Wednesday and The Chomp attracting thousands of people during warm weather, Cleveland’s food truck scene has really gotten rolling in the past few years. The number of food trucks in the city has risen from 11 to 60 since they became street legal in 2011.
Yet for food truck operators in the city, spring also heralds the arrival of something far less pleasant — permitting season. And that, Schachner said, can be a bureaucratic nightmare.
“The permitting process has been incredibly chaotic,” said the business owner, who also owns several downtown cafes and a catering operation that specializes in serving movie crews. “For those of us returning year after year, we have to be downtown no less than three times to get our permits together. That’s a true minimum. A lot of times it’s more than that.”
Lisa Krieger, director of events and internal operations for Downtown Cleveland Alliance, agrees that the city’s permitting process could use some streamlining. “Over the years the food truck community has grown exponentially, and what that has done is created a little bit of a bottleneck for the city,” she said. “They all need to be licensed and permitted at the same time.”
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