Mobile Kitchens Get Tougher Inspection; But Only Once A Year
SAN ANTONIO — Fancy new kitchens on wheels are taking San Antonio by storm.
KSAT-12 recently looked at whether these mobile kitchens are playing by the rules when it comes to what the health department expects.
Marty Davis and his wife run a busy roadside kitchen off UTSA Boulevard.
They are one of over 1,000 mobile food vendors roaming San Antonio.They have everything a normal restaurant does and Metro Health is watching their every move.
“They check the temperature gauges for all the food and temperature controls. They’re every strict,” Davis said.The Boardwalk on Bulverde is a campground of gourmet food trucks and evidence of how fast the industry has grown.
The owner said he’s helping the city work through any growing pains as policy and policing of mobile vendors evolves. “We are following the rules. It’s just that it’s so new,” said Cameron Davies.
Some Texas cities make mobile vendors submit travel plans and use devices to track them or make them change locations after a certain amount of time.San Antonio Metro Health only requires that mobile vendors come in once every year for a top to bottom inspection.”We are tougher on mobiles.
Part of the reason is because they’re mobile and it maybe our one chance to see them for the year,” said Steve Barscewski, with Metro Health.But Metro Health admits they have to chase down fringe elements who hide.”We go out at midnight or 1 a.m. around bars and clubs.It’s a prime place for them to operate so we pay them a visit,” Barscewski said.
That levels the playing field a bit for mobile vendors like Marty Davis.”Just because you’re working at night doesn’t mean you should get preferential treatment,” Davis said.
“Permits are expensive. There’s nothing cheap about doing this.”Just to be safe, Metro Health said customers that buy food from mobile vendors should look for a city sticker on the cart with an expiration month and year.
Customer can also ask to see the vendor’s permit. If the vendor can’t show you either one, it may be best to walk away.