Buffalo, NY: City Lacks Permit Process for New Food Trucks

Buffalo's "Lloyd" Food Truck

by Marissa Bailey | WGRZ.com

R&R BBQ Truck

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The mobile food truck industry is growing in Buffalo but owners say a lack of legislation is limiting their ability to serve.  Buffalo Common Council member Joe Golombek says he’s working with a team of city employees to research the topic and put together a plan for Buffalo.

Golombek says they’ve talked to leaders in Seattle, Portland and Cleveland to see how those cities are regulating food trucks.  The councilman says the trucks would need to be inspected by Buffalo Police, much like taxi cabs, once a year to ensure they are safe.

The Whole Hog” mobile food truck was shut down by Buffalo Police Saturday evening.  Buffalo born Kathleen Haggerty, chef and owner of “The Whole Hog,” made an agreement with Holley Farms to pay a monthly fee to set up on its private property on weekends.  When police arrived to the Allen Street lot, Haggerty was unable to present them with a permit to vend at the location.  Haggerty said the reason she couldn’t provide the document was because such a permit doesn’t exit.

“That language is not yet part of what the Common Council has passed,” Haggerty tells Channel 2.

For now, all mobile food trucks in Buffalo are only permitted to serve on one of five designated vending sites.  “The Whole Hog” was given a spot at Fireman’s Park between North and South Division streets.  The three other mobile food trucks in the city are “Lloyd” which is located outside of Mohawk Place, “The R&R BBQ” at Roosevelt, and “The Roaming Buffalo” under the 190 bridge.


Buffalo's "Lloyd" Food Truck

Lloyd,” the taco truck, was the first mobile food vehicle in the Buffalo.  Peter Cimino, co-owner of “Lloyd,” has worked with the city about the permit process since the business opened last July.  He said he understands that the “paradigm shift” to mobile food units from brick and mortar restaurants will take time, but is hopeful to see more progress soon.

Ellicott District Common Councilman Darius Pridgen faced the same road block when he proposed opening a ministry food truck for his church.  Pridgen said he has spoken with the city’s legal department and assures it is working to get legislation passed so trucks can be mobile.

One thing all parties agreed on was the excitement of a new industry in Buffalo outweighs the frustration of the roadblocks that it’s facing.

Council member Joe Golombek who is sponsoring the legislation said the Common Council is expecting progress in the next month.

Click on the video link above to see Marissa Bailey’s report.