Mobile vendors want to be allowed downtown

ASHEVILLE, NC – Don Buscher proclaimed his Lebanese chicken wrap “excellent” as he stood next to the Gypsy Queen Cuisine on Wednesday.

“It beats running to some fast-food restaurant,” said Buscher, the finance controller for UNC Asheville’s dining services who bought lunch from the truck stationed at Virginia Avenue and Haywood Road in West Asheville.

Buscher said he would love to visit food trucksdowntown when he needs a quick and tasty lunch.

But the chances of him getting that chicken shoarma in the center city just got slimmer as such foil-wrapped goodies take center stage in a local political drama.

Food truck vendors, who represent a growing trend in the city’s active culinary scene, are trying to change a 25-year-old rule against them operating downtown.

Some vocal and politically connected restaurateurs, however, are pushing back. Joining them are tourism officials who say truck vendors will cheapen the “Foodtopia” brand they have built around local bricks-and-mortar restaurants.

This month, the argument escalated as food truck supporters accused the chairman of the Downtown Commission, Dwight Butner, of “filibustering” a vote on compromise rules.

The commission, a first step on the way to approval by the City Council, was considering allowing trucks, with restrictions on location, time and other operations.

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