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Eating Outside Could Get More Complicated

June 10, 2010

As you may are aware, the once-humble food truck is experiencing a renaissance these days – all the cool kids (read: annoying self-important hipsters) around the US are hittin’ the streets in a quest for authentic ethnic grub, dispensed from the side of truck.  For instance:

  • NYC’s Schnitzel & Things, which serves three different kinds of schnitzel, along with some tasty-sounding sides (Austrian potato salad, cucumber salad, roasted beets & feta).
  • LA’s insanely popular Kogi Korean BBQ truck, which gained fame, fortune and a HUGE following last year through a clever location-spotting campaign on Twitter
Kogi the Trend-Setting Korean BBQ Truck

Kogi the Trend-Setting Korean BBQ Truck

Even smAlbany gets into the act every spring and summer, when dozens of food trucks, selling everything from falafel to fajitas, line the streets around the State Capital and attract state workers by the thousands every day at lunchtime. The day they arrive is almost as newsworthy as the day the swallows arrive in San Juan Capistrano.

LA's WorldFare "BusTaurant"

But the LATEST trend in mobile food is the “bustaurant”, a double-decker food bus which offers diners not only the chance to buy the food on the street, but to eat it there too – either in an enclosed upper space, or on an open air upper deck (like the WorldFare busTaurant). A very cool idea whose time has come.

It appears, however, that small-minded politicians in both LA and NY are trying to put the kibosh on these new-fangled roach coaches, before the trend really even gets a chance to flourish:

  • Two NYC councilmembers have introduced legislation that would essentially shut down business for truck operators who get three parking meter violations (they apparently just feed the meters all day long wherever they park- yikes).  Not that they are somehow avoiding the fines now – vendors rack up thousands of dollars in fines every year, in addition to all those coins, which they consider the cost of doing business.  Why does NYC care?  They’re making a TON of money off these vendors.  I don’t get it.
  • And meanwhile, over in LA, The LA County health department is set to hold a hearing later this month to determine whether the WorldFare truck’s dining facility violates local health ordinances.  I’m willing to bet that a new “bustaurant vending permit”, sung to the tune of a couple grand a year, will make things just right with the LA County government, though.

Nothing like a little bureaucratic red tape to whet the ol’ appetite.

If that’s the way things are going, our friend Bettie and her double-decker cupcake stand should watch out.  You know how New York State loves fees and surcharges (They’re not taxes!  We swear!)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Joanne permalink
    June 14, 2010 6:58 pm

    Hey, Wendy, according to NPR, the swallows no longer go to San Juan Capistrano. They go to Chino Hills.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127527774

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