Brownsville, TX: City of Brownsville Finally Discovers Food Trucks

By Jim Barton  |  Mean Mister Brownsville


Do you remember last summer when Walter Underwood, then owner of Philly’s Americana, asked the City of Brownsville for a food truck permit?  He was stonewalled by city bureaucrats and when it came to the attention of Mayor Martinez, he was not interested.  Here is the MMB report from August 10, 2012 including Martinez response:

“We have so many different issues at the city that probably need addressing, such as public works and city maintenance and things of that nature,” said Martinez, who owns Lola’s restaurant on Palm Boulevard.

“I would not put food trucks at the top of my list right now.”

Evidently, Walter Underwood, the former owner of Philly’s Americana in Brownsville, stopped trying to fight bureaucracy and regulation in our city and took his food truck to Austin, a city that has dozens of such trucks offering all kinds of unique and sometimes gourmet items.

Now, we have learned that the City of McAllen has created a new ordinance allowing up to twelve new food truck permits to be issued in the city. McAllen Health Director Josh Ramirez is finalizing the rules food truck operators will need to follow according to a report by

“Something you ingeniously build at home is not going to be allowed,” Ramirez said.

According to the report, while the permits issued will initially be limited to 12, officials will review the program in a few months amn may consider expanding the number of trucks allowed in the city.

The City of Austin, of course, has an entire city block near 6th Street dedicated to food trucks. This format allows purveyors of all kinds of cuisines to produce them without the overwhelming overhead of a brick-and-mortar building.

So, while cities like Austin and McAllen recognize and respond to trends and current technology, Tony Martinez and Brownsville officials continue to stifle growth with their lack of imagination and lethargy.