Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Staying in the state of Ohio as we did earlier this week with a profile of a Columbus food truck, in today’s spotlight, we move southward to Cincinnati where the City Council just approved the cities fourth location for food trucks to congregate to provide their mobile offerings. Back in June, the City Council approved a pilot program giving food trucks three designated places to park.  Twenty vendors have permits from the city to use the locations.

Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan, who introduced the legislation, spoke with constituents, vendors and business owners in the areas around the locations and found all but a few pleased with the program so far. Trucks have been able to park on Court Street, at Fifth and Race streets, adjacent to Sawyer Point parking, with the new location added; they may also park south of the Purple People abutment. This new location is scheduled to have its first vendors show up on Monday.

In a means to appease some business owners near the Court Street location, the Council also voted to limit the hours of this truck spot to 6 am to 3 pm.

It should be apparent that this type of arrangement is more attuned to cities that do not have the same type of foot traffic that many urban centers in the United States have. Rather than just shrugging their shoulders and turning their back to bringing the people of their city more food options, we applaud Cincinnati for their continued support of their community and the food truck industry there.

Here are some of the top food trucks in Cincinnati, the fare they serve and their pricing:

Cafe de Wheels: Burgers, fries, Cuban sandwiches and made to order veggie burgers. It usually sets up at lunchtime on weekdays near the courthouse. It is cash only, and most items are less than $9.

Follow: Website / Twitter

Habanero Burrito Wagon: Burritos (chicken, steak, pork, fish, veggie), $5; tacos (same offerings), $2-3; Mexican sodas/Mexican Coca-Cola; chips and salsa, cookies, desserts. Nothing on the truck costs more than $5.

Follow: Website / Twitter

Señor Roy’s Taco Patrol: Tacos (flank steak, grilled chicken or Al Pastor slow-roasted pork shoulder) are two for $5 or three for $6. Burritos or quesadillas are $6 each, and everything else on the menu is $5 or less.

Follow: Website / Twitter

Taco Azul: Tacos are $2 or three for $5; burritos are $7; and most menu items are $5 or less.

Follow: Website / Twitter

The Chilimobile: Cheese coneys for $2. This truck can be found in the city parking lot at 5th and Race across from Macy’s.

Follow: Website / Twitter

 

Thanks to our friends over at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, we bring you a story of one Cleveland food truck owner and his adventure into the food truck industry.

Chef Chris Hodgson had to navigate a maze of city laws before he could finally get his gourmet food truck, Dim and Den Sum, on the road last spring. It took more than two months — plus the guidance of a city councilman — for him to collect 14 pieces of official paper to get street legal for anywhere in the city. Among them: Three kinds of peddling permits; a health inspection certificate; a catering license; a vending license; and a fire inspection certificate. Estimated cost: $2,800.

“It’s a lot more difficult than what people think,” said Hodgson, a 24-year-old Cleveland-area native and culinary school graduate who has worked at Michelin Star restaurant The Spotted Pig in New York City as well as restaurants in Cleveland, California and Boston.

“That was probably the biggest frustration,” Hodgson said of his permit chase. “We’re chefs. We didn’t know how to figure out the process.” Help may be coming. The city is putting together legislation to simplify the permit process to one application and one fee, expected to be about $150. The goal is to see food trucks develop here as they have in other big cities.

At the same time, Cleveland wants to balance the concerns of restaurateurs, some of whom see food trucks — with their inexpensive gourmet fare and low overhead — as unfair competition. “We want to make it business-friendly and efficient,” said Kevin Schmotzer, of the city’s economic development department, which is working with other departments on the legislation.

The city also is trying to balance concerns of restaurateurs, some of whom see the food trucks — with their inexpensive gourmet fare and low overhead — as unfair competition.

In Cleveland, the city’s solution will be to limit the gourmet food trucks to “food deserts,” places where healthy food is unavailable, and where, presumably, there are few or no restaurants. Two examples: near the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame & Museum or on certain quadrants of Public Square.

Photo from shawnmariani.com

Dim and Den Sum set up at the farmers markets on Public Square a few times this summer, often selling out most food onboard.

The legislation also may set minimum distances between a parked food truck and a restaurant, Schmotzer said. “We’re trying to make it a great program, an efficient program, one that supports the entrepreneurs of the food carts, because we want them,” Schmotzer said. “At the same time I don’t want our phones ringing with restaurant owners when these things are parked right out in front.”

That tension between mobile food vendors and bricks-and-mortar restaurants played out in Medina recently, when a Valley City woman asked the council to refine its laws so she could sell sandwiches from a cart parked on the city’s historic town square. The council dropped the issue after hearing from merchants on the square who were concerned about potential competition, said Planning Director Greg Hannan.

In June, the Cincinnati City Council designated three downtown locations where food trucks could park, and the city charges fees based on parking there every day for a year. Thomas Acito, owner of food truck Cafe de Wheels, said the locations are OK for attracting lunch customers but are useless for finding evening diners. “We have this whole business district, and we don’t have anywhere we can do business at night or for dinner,” Acito said.

Dim and Den Sum started out by doing late-night stops outside nightclubs such as the Flying Monkey Pub in Tremont or the Happy Dog in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. Mike Snyder, owner of the Flying Monkey, said Dim and Den Sum is a good addition to his block, on Jefferson Avenue at the corner of Professor. Nearby is a Thai restaurant, Ty Fun, and fine dining such as Fahrenheit, across the street. Dim and Den appeals to his customers, who want food that is quick, but sophisticated, Snyder said.

The Flying Monkey doesn’t sell food, so Snyder lets his customers bring Dim and Den Sum into his establishment. “The guys who run the truck are great,” Snyder said. “Their food is great. They clean up after themselves. They have their own garbage cans. We haven’t had a problem with them at all.”
Hodgson said, however, that lately he has been focusing on serving the lunch crowd, because business there is better. “We have to find big groups of people,” Hodgson said.

Plus, doing lunch and late-night both was turning Dim and Den Sum into an exhausting, round-the-clock operation. “We’re a small group of chefs, and we get tired,” Hodgson said. Dim and Den Sum fans keep track of the truck’s movements and menu by “liking” the business on Facebook, checking its mobile app, going to dimanddensum.com or following @DimAndDenSum on Twitter.

Myra Orenstein of Cleveland Independents, the organization for locally owned restaurants, said not all restaurateurs fear competition from gourmet food trucks. “When you look at Cleveland independents, they don’t look at each other as competition,” said Orenstein, who is president of her own marketing and advertising company, CATV Inc. “Anything that can be done to enhance the food scene is welcome.” Restaurants and food trucks attract different diners, Orenstein said. While food trucks are for on-the-go dining, a restaurant sells its ambiance and service.

Cleveland hopes to encourage gourmet food trucks, a trend that has caught on in cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Austin, Texas. One measure of the trend’s strength: Food Network this year launched a reality series, “The Great Food Truck Race,” in which gourmet food trucks competed for a $50,000 prize.

Food Network also hosted a contest last summer in which fans across the country could vote for their favorite food truck. Dim and Den Sum took third place among 280 contestants. Cleveland’s growing foodie culture and local-food movement make the conditions right for the high-end food trucks, Schmotzer said.

City Hall wants to encourage these entrepreneurs, many of whom don’t have the resources — access to upwards of $250,000 — to open a bricks-and-mortar restaurant. “You have a lot of people who have some amazing talents but they just don’t have the capital, especially in this lending environment,” Schmotzer said. “To get the experience of running something, this is a good stepping-stone.”

Gourmet food trucks, with their penchant for sophisticated cuisine using locally grown and raised food, are a great outlet for the urban gardens and farms that are blossoming across Cleveland, said Councilman Joe Cimperman, who helped Hodgson navigate the city permit process.

“The idea is to leverage and maximize the kind of economic development that occurs because of local food,” Cimperman said. “It’s a complete and totally sustainable economic development eco-system.”
Food trucks are not just for entrepreneurs, either, Orenstein said. A number of restaurant owners she knows are looking into getting their own food trucks on the road.

Lucas Dunn’s food cart business, Pedaling Hummus — a cart pulled by a bicycle — debuted on Public Square a few weeks ago. Dunn got started through a city pilot program aimed at spurring micro-economic development, promoting locally sourced and healthy food and supporting local artists through street vending businesses.

Dunn said, however, that business was slow, and he hopes to do better in the spring when more people will be out and about. Dunn’s also hoping to sell on the Case Western Reserve University Campus, where he thinks the students might be more familiar with his menu, which features chickpea spread and pita chips. Running a food truck business in Cleveland, however, does have its drawbacks: six months of chilly-to-cold weather.

Dunn said he may switch to hot chocolate and granola bars during the winter; Hodgson said he will shutter his meals-on-wheels operation during the cold months.

But Hodgson’s seven months on the road was so successful, he’s using the profits to open a bricks-and-mortar restaurant in Ohio City in May. He’s planning two more trucks. And in the meantime, he’ll do catering and special events. “My goal was to come here, establish a smaller business, show that we could get people behind it and open a restaurant,” Hodgson said. “I did it in seven months. And I’m still in shock.”

You can follow The Dim and Dem Sum Truck at Twitter.

As our industry becomes more main stream throughout the country, more and more cities are beginning to look at starting a dialog to determine if food trucks have a place in their communities. We have researched many of the common points brought up by those opposing mobile vendors. Although many of those against the rise of food trucks have ulterior motives that circle back to the brick and mortar restaurant industry. If the industry is to continue its growth, we need to identify those issues, sit down and civilly discuss that food trucks are not the danger to restaurants and communities that many are trying to convince cities they are.

Food Trucks don’t pay rent.

They may not have leases or rent payments as high as restaurants, but food trucks still have to pay for commissary space to clean and restock their “kitchens,” they pay for licenses, permits, food and staff. In many communities, food trucks also are legally required to pay for rent on storage space and commissaries where they do most of the prep work. In cities such as San Francisco, mobile vendors are charged upwards of $10,000 a year to maintain their licenses in certain districts. New York City has a limit of permits they issue to street vendors which include trucks and carts. Outside of liquor licenses, cities do not limit the amount of restaurants which can operate within their city limits.

Food Trucks unfairly compete with brick and mortar restaurants.

One of the most common complaints by dissenters is that Food Truck operator’s relatively low costs give them “an unfair advantage”. Before the recent uptick in mobile food vendors across the country, this occurrence in the restaurant industry was always referred to as a “competitive advantage.” So long as the owner of a competitive advantage was passing the benefit of their “advantage” to their customers in terms of value both economically and the quality of their cuisine, this has always been looked at as a positive. The fact that the mobile catering industry has changed its perceived limitation as a “food of only convenience” is what has shifted consumer perception. The current emphasis on value in the market strongly favors the Food Truck model, and is what has attracted many consumers to the new generation of food trucks.

Food Trucks only go to trendy areas and potentially prevent new food centered areas from emerging.

Of course food trucks go to trendy areas, food trucks thrive in areas with high foot traffic, but at the same time, isn’t that what restaurant owners try to do when they open up? They find areas where their business model has the best chance to succeed. Why should food trucks be held down to a foundation or lease if all they have to do is start up their truck and drive to another area where consumers spend their time?

It can also be said that trucks develop something close to cults. Food trucks have followers, the difference lies in their devotion and as shown to date, food truck followers will follow their food wherever it is, so new trendy areas can be created by food trucks that new restaurateurs can follow if they choose.

Food Trucks leave clouds of diesel fumes and noise in their wake.

The longer the food truck industry is popular; technology will help it to become greener. Many trucks around the country already run their vehicles off the vegetable oil they produce so as to cut down on oil costs for fuel and the emissions their trucks create. If they are so concerned about the environment, are they as critical of restaurants that generate upwards of 41% of their carbon foot print from merely heating and lighting their restaurants? Dependent on the area of the country and what is their source of power generation, I’d certainly take a food truck that is driving around town on vegetable oil or biodiesel, over a restaurant that requires nuclear or coal based power generation.

Food Trucks generate more trash in areas with already overflowing trashcans and few sidewalk recycling bins.

This is an area where we may be in agreement currently, however the food truck industry is evolving. An example of this can be seen in San Francisco where the group Off the Grid has created lots for food truck festivals throughout the week. When they started, they were holding 3 hour events where approximately 300 hundred consumers attended every hour, now they are holding 4 hour events with upwards of 700 consumers showing up every hour. Their solution? Asking each vendor to provide a trash can outside of their vehicle as well as charging each truck a little more for their participation so the event planners can hire more assistance to help clean up the site.

Food Trucks create more traffic on the streets, thus more deaths related to crashes will increase.

Since food trucks spend the majority of their operating time parked in a lot or a parking spot selling their fare, this point seems moot. Another way to look at this argument is that food trucks use social media to inform customers of their location from day to day. Much of their sales come from people already in the area, as opposed to many brick and mortar establishments which get people taking taxis or driving themselves to the restaurant’s permanent location. Imagine the cuts in deaths due to traffic incidents if people stopped using taxis or personal vehicles to get to their food source?

These are far from all of the negative points driven by those who do not back the food truck industry, but we have found these to be the most common. If you are aware of other topics which are used to attempt to dissuade municipalities from approving laws and regulations which allow food trucks into their community, please forward them along to us, and we will follow up this article with those additions.

In today’s economy, more than ever, people are looking for alternative sources of employment for themselves. Throw a dash of American entrepreneurship into the mix, and you will find that one of the largest growing search areas on Internet sites such as Google, Yahoo Search, and Bing! is the Mobile Food Industry. Mobile Cuisine Magazine would like to help these potential vendors and the food truck industry by providing a series of articles that will help each individual in deciding if being a mobile food vendor is the right career shift for them.

The weeks or months of refining your recipes have been concluded.  You’ve spent numerous hours on the phone, waiting in line and filling out reams of paperwork at the city and county zoning and health departments. The truck you had to refinance your home to purchase has finally been outfitted with the perfect kitchen.  The call from the sign company has come to inform you that the graphics and menu board are complete. You finally have done it, you’ve got your business licenses, permits and it’s time to fire up the grill and open for business. Now comes the easy part, right? It can be a 9 to 5 job, but not in the way that you might expect. This article, (the final of a four part series) will provide you with a look into a day in the life of a food truck owner.

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The alarm goes off and you crawl out of bed, it is 9 a.m. The coffee is brewing and the computer is booted up so you can check on any important emails that may have come in overnight. From the time you wake up until approximately 2 hours later you will be busy going over your calendar of events, and planning for your day. To stay relevant and on the radar, you must stay in touch with customers, followers and the general public by responding to emails and phone calls. Once your correspondence is done, it’s time to start planning on events coming up in the near future. With 30 minutes to go before meeting up with team members, it’s time to get ready and drive to your meet up location.

High Noon

You and your team are on time, you go over your notes and discuss daily specials and suggestions from lessons learned from the previous day. This will be the time when you find out from your partners and line cooks what they have heard overnight from local news and their messages from customers and competitors. Sharing this information keeps everyone in the loop, part of the team, and in most cases, happy, high morale team members.

12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Now is the time for the team to head off to the market and bakery. We suggest shopping locally weather it’s from produce markets or from local grocery chains that sell locally produced seasonal and organic fruit, vegetables and hormone-free meat. By doing this, you may spend a bit more than if you were to shop at a national chain, but not only will you provide your customers with healthy, fresh food, but you will be doing your part to assist the world in cutting down on the carbon emissions that shipping meat that is raised outside of the area and produce planted overseas creates.

Once your food is purchased you’ll need to head to the commissary to chop your fruits and vegetables, blend your sauces and grill the meat (if you serve it). Those not involved in the food prep will need to organize the truck to ready it for the work night, fire up their twitter accounts to notify followers to the truck’s location(s) and conduct another round of voice mail, email, and follow up phone calls.

5:30 p.m.

Time to head to your office; it’s time for the truck to leave the lot and get to your first stop.

6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

The Louks Truck in LA serves its customers

It’s time! It’s time to open the doors. It’s time to practice your trade and time to make your mark on your community. When you reach your destination and there’s already a line of people at the curb, the sight will be both invigorating and terrifying. It will be invigorating because you already have loyal followers who have found your location and are waiting to be served a meal from your heart. Terrifying because you need to park and get some meat cooking quickly so you aren’t keeping your customers waiting too long.

You will have little to no awareness of what is going on outside the truck. Your eyes will shift from the growing queue of ticket orders, to the fryers, to the main cooking surface, and back while you are preparing the orders as they come in. This is where you must enjoy your job; this is where you will know if you have made the proper choice in opening a food truck. If this is a time when you are distracted or dislike your environment, it’s time to start planning a way to sell off your investment and head back to your previous career.

3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The night’s service is over, and you have made your way back to the commissary. It’s time to clean out the truck, and wash it down so it is ready for its next shift. The meat will need to be broken down and marinated, and bread has to be ordered for tomorrow’s pick-up.

The food is stored and the truck is locked up. It’s finally time to head home.

On the trip home you’ll reflect back on the day and be very thankful when the oil in the fryer didn’t explode or that you were able to start the truck without any issues, and finally, you’ll see it. Home sweet home. After a final round of reading emails and phone message retrieval, it’s finally time for bed.

When we mentioned a 9 to 5 work day, we’ll bet this wasn’t quite what you were expecting.

This article was not written to scare anyone, but to provide a look into a typical day of a food truck owner, and if it does scare anyone, maybe it will help save those people the time and finances that it takes to enter into this industry.

Many truck owners have told us that there is nothing glamorous about running a food truck. Why would they do it then? According to most, it’s the feeling they get when they see their customer’s laughs and smiles after taking a bite from the item they just ordered off their menu. It’s a love of cooking and serving the public. If after reading this series on Breaking into the Food Truck Industry you still have a desire to further investigate the ownership of your own truck, you may be a great fit for the industry and we support your entrepreneurial desire. Please keep following Mobile Cuisine Magazine, we will continue to profile trucks, their owners, and provide suggestions throughout the year on how owner-operators can upgrade their trucks, their products and the promotion of their businesses.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

While the idea is not new, there is a movement afoot aimed at changing the way we eat one day a week and Mobile Cuisine Magazine is jumping into it with both feet. Starting today we are introducing a new direction for our food truck industry coverage on Mondays.

To do our part in supporting Meatless Mondays we believe that sharing information, recipes, and news about vegetarianism and leading a more conscious life overall is beneficial for everyone, vegetarian and omnivore alike.

Sid Lerner, 79, an advertising specialist who worked on one of the most successful US advertising campaigns, the “Squeeze the Charmin” campaign is the man who has revived the Meatless Monday campaign after its being dormant since the World War II era. Learner faces the same challenge selling the concept of Meatless Monday as he did with toilet paper. He has to turn the mundane idea of “moderation” into something irresistible.

He’s started his own nonprofit which blends social media and Madison Avenue technique to spread the word. Lerner raises money from foundations and collaborates with health experts. To help make their message exciting, he’s trying to bring top chefs into the fold. Wolfgang Puck and Mario Batali have both endorsed the concept, offering some Meatless Monday options.

Chef Batali Supports Meatless Mondays

The last thing the organizers wanted for Meatless Monday was it to become a campaign of food elitists in major urban areas. So, through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, they reached out to institutional dining faculties; from hospitals to school cafeterias. This will be the second year that some 80,000 Baltimore school kids will dine meat-free in their cafeterias on Mondays. And it’s moved beyond Baltimore.

“The movement is just spreading like wildfire,” says Karen Campbell, who directs wellness programs at Northern Kentucky University. She’s helped bring Meatless Monday to her school and several restaurants in her town.

Like any good ad man, Sid Lerner takes time to measure his success. He used a public opinion survey to find out that about 20 percent of those surveyed had heard about the concept of Meatless Monday.

It should not surprise anyone, but the meat industry does not believe this is any kind of trend.

“I’m not so sure that it’s taking off among the general population,” says Janet Riley, vice president of the meat and poultry trade group American Meat Institute.

“It seems if you’re concerned about people’s health, you’d want to have a Vegetable Tuesday or Whole Grains Wednesday. But now, we’re telling people to give up meat, and that’s unfortunate,” says Riley. She says she suspects that this movement is being pushed by people who care more about animal rights than human nutrition.

We can assure Ms. Riley that Mobile Cuisine Magazine is joining this movement to better human nutrition and better the world we live in. We do not wish to appear to dissuade our readers from eating meat all of the time, just regulate it one day a week.

Lerner says he can’t see how his one day a week campaign is a threat. He does still eat meat, after all. So far, he says he’s really surprised by how many people are paying attention. But then again, he never expected to sell so much Charmin, either.

The Meatless Monday campaign is backed by public health advocates, chefs and suburban moms who want to tackle the problems of cholesterol and heart disease. One risk factor for these chronic conditions is consuming too much saturated fat; the type of fat found in meat.

THE BENEFITS
FOR YOUR HEALTH

REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Beans, peas, nuts and seeds contain little to no saturated fats. Reducing saturated fats can help keep your cholesterol low, and cut risk of cardiovascular disease.

LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables can reduce cancer risk. Red meat consumption is associated with colon cancer.

FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that plant-based diets– particularly those low in processed meat – can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A plant-based diet is a great source of fiber (absent in animal products). This makes you feel full with fewer calories, ie. lower calorie intake and less overeating.

LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.

IMPROVE YOUR DIET: Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

FOR YOUR WALLET

CUT WEEKLY BUDGET: Food prices continue to rise. Current increases are especially sharp in packaged items and meat, which require extra expenses like feed and transportation. Forgoing meat once a week is a great way to cut the weekly budget.

CURB HEALTHCARE SPENDING: Treatment of chronic preventable diseases accounts for 70% of total U.S. healthcare spending. By reducing our risk for these conditions, we can curtail healthcare spending nationwide.

FOR OUR PLANET

REDUCE CARBON FOOTPRINT: The UN estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that accelerate climate change.

MINIMIZE WATER USAGE: The water needs of livestock are huge, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef.

REDUCE FUEL DEPENDENCE: On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. (compared to 2.2 calories of fossil fuel for plant-based protein).

Please do your part today and join the movement? Signing up is fast and easy! Follow them on Twittter.

Mobile Cuisine Magazine looks forward to sharing Meatless Monday with our readers!

 

 

After winning 9-0 last night, the San Francisco Giants are leaving town with a 2-0 World Series lead over the Texas Rangers. Even though AT&T Park will be closed (possibly until next season) San Francisco residents and visitors still have a chance to have fantastic food while gathered with a large group of Giant fans this weekend. A new food venue is available on weekends in four communities including Upper Haight, Civic Center, McCoppin Hub and Fort Mason Center. Off the Grid brings a wide range of mobile food truck food options and packages them with music and a wonderful atmosphere.

Although not a new trend in San Francisco, food trucks need foot traffic to remain sustainable, and current regulations prevent groups of trucks from gathering together on the public right-of-way. The owner of Off the Grid and originator of the SF Cart Project, Matt Cohen has created a way to bring groups of vendors and consumers together.

The idea for OTG was to bring 15 to 20 of the best street food trucks from around the San Francisco area and park them in the same lot between 5 and 9 PM on a weekend evening, provide fantastic food at low prices. Add some great tunes and a full bar, and presto, you have a gastro-party worth your time, and worthy of many return visits.

Cohen suggests, “Come with a group of friends, get a drink, and relax. You’ll wait in some lines, but break up and get food from a couple different places and share. Start conversations with people walking by and ask them what they’re eating. It’s an evening of eating. It’s great for families, too. The kids can be loud!”

Photo by: Chris MacArthur/SF Weekly

Current location lineup:

Upper Haight: Stanyan Street at Waller Street; Thursdays, 4pm to 8:30pm

Civic Center Plaza: Fridays 11am to 2:30pm

Fort Mason Center: Fridays, 5pm to 9pm

McCoppin Hub at Valencia: Saturdays 11am to 4pm and 5pm to 10pm

Participating vendors:

AdoboHobo, Azalina’s Malaysian, Chaac Mool Yucatecan cuisine, Chairman Bao Bun Truck, Creme Brulee Cart, Curry Up Now, El Huarache Loco, El Porteno Empanadas, Global Soul, Gobba Gobba Hey, Hapa SF, Kung Fu Tacos, Onigilly, Seoul On Wheels Korean BBQ, and Senor Sisig.

Vendor lists are posted on Facebook and are updated as new vendors join.

Follow on Twitter.

With its fun, festival atmosphere and abundance of cheap tasty treats, if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, be sure to add one or more of its venues to your must do list.

Apparently, at some time in its history, Atlanta was being overrun by gangs of renegade ice-cream trucks, covering every area of the city and terrorizing its people. Because of this, governmental agencies looking to protect the citizenry; placed archaic laws on the books which prevented these mobile dairy gangs from taking over the public right of way for more than 30 minutes at a time per location. Unfortunately, these laws have been a key factor in preventing the food truck industry from spreading into this Southern metro area.

Currently, mobile food vendors in Atlanta have been relegated to serving their food in private lots or at traveling festivals. Although this route may work well for some, for young entrepreneurs looking at food trucking as their primary means of income, it does not come close. Hope is on the horizon though, thanks to Councilmembers Kwanza Hall and Natalyn Archibong.

These councilmembers, looking to bring additional economic stimulus to the city, have introduced a measure that would allow truck owners to leave the festivals and actually sell their mobile creations in the curbside right of way beneath the I-75/I-85 viaduct on either side of Edgewood Avenue between Jesse Hill Avenue and Fort Street.  According to Councilwoman Hall, “We want to take a seedy, desolate area and try to drive some economic impact, I could see someday getting 20 to 30 trucks in that area.”

The proposed legislation would allow the city to issue operating permits in a monthly lottery where winning vendors would be selected to hold one of the eight proposed vendor slots. As long as the lottery was held openly and allows for fair participation, this could be the start of something great for the industry in Atlanta. Dependent on sales results and if customers feel safe while dining in the area, City Council and the Transportation Department could increase the number of awarded permits and add additional locations outside of this pilot district for truck owners to operate.

The proposals submission does not assure a quick ratification as it may take some time before it is brought to a vote. The city’s attorneys still need to comb through the language of the bill, and the Atlanta Street Food Association will review the issue and give the Public Safety Committee its recommendation to updates or changes to the legislation.

Yumbii Food Truck

The mother of the owner of the Yumbii food truck supports the measure and would love to see her son’s truck be part of the revolution. Rebecca Young stated, “If Yumbii can help revitalization in that area, we would be happy to be a part of that,” she said. “It’s going to have to be secure and we would have to assure people that it is secure. But other cities have had food trucks in areas that had security issues and they were able to turn it around and make it a place people wanted to be.”

Be sure to bookmark this article to keep track of the progress this legislation, we will be constantly monitoring the situation and updating our report as things change.

 

As we previously reported, Los Angeles County supervisors were to vote on pending food truck legislation this week. On Tuesday, the supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the proposal, and in 30 days, the new law will go into effect.

The regulation authorizes health inspectors the ability to  now conduct two surprise field inspections and provide the same health board grades to food trucks as brick and mortar restaurants receive. The previous requirements provided for a single field inspection and one in the commissary in which the truck is stored overnight. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, there was no grading system in place. Now a truck will receive a county grade of A, B, or C and will have to post thier grade in an area visible to its customers.

According to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Health Department, the new regulation will not result in any increases in fees the food truck operators are charged within the first year it is in effect.

We see this new law as a stepping stone for municipalities around the country to use as a guide in  assisting them in opening paths for food trucks to start providing services in areas where previously they had not.

Food festivals are using gourmet food trucks as their featured headliners.

Communities across the country may have found another revenue generating operation that could provide a much desired service for their citizens, a boost to their local economy and help to small businesses in the food truck industry. One such event took place in Southern California this weekend.

On Saturday, October 16th in Valencia, California, 22 food trucks swooped into the Bridgeport Marketplace at McBean Parkway and Newhall Ranch Road to provide the local area with a taste of the food truck frenzy that is sweeping the nation. The Awesometown Gourmet Food Truck Festival was the brainchild of Cluster Truck Events, a Southern California based, event planning company, and self-proclaimed professional “truck wranglers.”

Vendors from the Greater Los Angeles area offered menus that varied from sliders, fried chicken, beef tacos and cupcakes. The food trucks who participated with authentic and innovative cuisine were:

Ahn Joo Truck, Bool BBQ, Border Grill, Comfort Truck, Del’s Lemonade, Dim Sum Truck, Dosa Truck, Fish Lips, Fresh Fries, Fry Smith, Great Balls on Tires, Krazy BBQ, Lake Street Creamery, Lee’s Philly Gogi, Ludo’s Truck, Munchie Machine, My Kabob Express, Newhall Coffee Roasting Company, Sprinkles, Tapa Boy, Sweets Truck and Vesuvio.

Originally thought to draw nearly 3,000 visitors; within the first hour of the four hour event, more than 8,000 guests had found their way to the site. The event was sponsored by Newhall Land Development LLC. Marlee Lauffer, Newhall Land spokeswoman, said the turnout showed how much excitement there was for the gourmet food truck trend, which has brought food trucks to business centers around the Santa Clarita Valley. With the large turnout, there were some issues with overcrowding and long lines, however many of the hungry mobile gourmands viewed the long lines the same way that thrill chasers who stand in line to take part of their favorite rides at Disneyland or Magic Mountain do.

“I’m sorry there were lines,” Lauffer said. “This just shows how much people out here love doing things together.”

This LSU tailgater uses a grill fashioned out of a casket. The grill is delivered to the site via an LSU colored Hearse. Photo from Embellished Bayou Blog

Mobile Cuisine comes in many shapes, sizes and flavors.  The fare served varies greatly, and even the types of locations it can be found at are different in each region of the country. The college and professional football seasons have begun, which in turn brings us the fascinating world of the tailgate. Fans of these sporting events have long been involved in bringing mobile cuisine to the parking lots near the stadium their home team is playing. Many of these “fans” take their support as far as traveling hundreds of miles to watch their team on the rival team’s home turf. Outside of packing their multi-colored foam fingers, team flags and jerseys, many of them bring complete traveling kitchens.

Because we have been flooded by reader requests who want to see us cover this long time American tradition, we at Mobile Cuisine Magazine have listened and hope to succeed in bringing our readers, articles on the subjects related to mobile food that they want to read. This week we will start with the basics of tailgating, and provide some common sense ideas and items that every want to be tailgater may want in their arsenal.

Dress in your team’s colors, and fly a flag – Show your support in and out of the stadium, you, in part with the rest of the fans, are the 12th man on the field. Show it off proudly!

Timing, timing, timing – Your food should be ready approximately an hour to two hours before kickoff. This will allow you plenty of time to eat and clean up before you and your guests need to be inside the stadium to root for your team.

Antacid – In many cases with tailgating, we’re talking about brats, hotdogs and burgers. Don’t let a little indigestion ruin the rest of your day.

Toilet paper – This item seems to be left of many preplanning lists. Nothing is worse than finding the one port-a-potty that is out of TP when you really need it.

Comfortable shoes – Once you get into the stadium, you’ll be sitting, but don’t forget, while you are outside, you’ll be standing and walking around the parking lot.

Pack your rubbers – With football, there is always a chance for wet weather. Don’t be the tailgater stuck in the vehicle when you could be out in the elements cooking.

Jumper cables – Many tailgaters love to stay in the parking lot after games to celebrate. Don’t be the one who is forced to.

Don’t forget to leave your area clean – The worst way to show support for your team and the employees of the stadium, is to leave it a shambles.

This is just a short list of ideas and items tailgaters can use. If you are a common tailgater and would like to share your experience, please do in the comments section below. In future features, we will present some of the more outlandish tailgaters across the United States as well as the gourmet food that they prepare.

Keep the feedback coming, we love hearing from you.