CLEVELAND, OH – After a six month trial period, mobile food trucks are now free to operate in Cleveland, with a few restrictions.

Over the past six months, city leaders have been speaking with food truck operators, street vendors and restaurants to come up with the law, which goes into effect immediately.

motormouth food truck

The city council vote was unanimous.

“The great people of the City of Cleveland have had the opportunity to sample our food and see what we’re all about,” said Rusty Phillips of MotorMouth Food Truck.

“At the beginning, there were some headaches, but I see that we’re carving a way for the future here, that we’re ahead for once here in Cleveland,” another truck vendor told city council members.

The legislation more clearly defines how a vendor can operate.

  • They can be in most areas downtown as well as in Tremont and Ohio City with a permit.
  • The trucks cannot operate in front of a house or a vacant lot unless they get the owner’s permission.
  • They must stay 100 feet away from an existing restaurant and 50 feet away from a gas station.

“Some of the food trucks, they’re actually preparing the food, so they’ve got flame,” said Ward 13 councilman Joe Cimperman.

Cimperman, whose ward includes downtown, said food trucks have become popular in town.

“They don’t even send out emails, they just tweet where these food trucks are gonna be and people show up, and it’s just been hugely successful,” said Cimperman.

“To really show Clevelanders that there’s something new and fresh for us to offer them in the city,” said Izzy Schachner, of StrEat Mobile Bistro.

Now, with clear guidelines in place, it’s likely more mobile food trucks will start up.

“There’s always the fear of saturation, but I think what it’s doing, it’s driving the individual food truck operators to strive to do better food,” said Phillips.

“If you want to have a hotdog you still can, God bless you, and if you want to try something a little different you can do that too, and that’s really what this is about and that’s giving Clevelanders a choice,” said Cimperman.

Some of the areas where the trucks are permitted include much of East 9th Street downtown, North Coast Harbor, two quadrants of Public Square, Willard Park, Perk Plaza and areas around Cleveland State University.

To operate in other parts of town, a food truck operator would need permission from that ward’s councilperson.

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