Food Truck Owner Fights for Right to Serve Cleveland (video)

Chef Christopher Hodgson peers out of the window of the brightly painted Dim and den Sum mobile gourmet food truck which was serving employees at the SmartEd Services company in Cleveland.

By Mark Zinni |

CLEVELAND — An unresolved permit issue has left the owner of a local food truck begging for action.

“I want to do it here, very badly,” said Chris Hodgson from Dim & Den Sum. The Cleveland-based food truck has been in operation for a year, but the rolling restaurant was sidelined by the city after Chris discovered his paid permits aren’t good enough.

“We have a permit to be servicing food in Ward 3,” said Hodgson. “However, it has come to our attention there’s a little part that says ‘no CBD.’ I don’t know what CBD means, we know now it means Central Business District, that’s all of downtown.”

Hodgson has been waiting for the city to change the law. Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman tells FOX 8, “The city loves Dim & Den Sum and food trucks, but we’re dealing with a licensing policy from the 1950’s that’s now being converted to make it up to date.

“Last year,” said Hodgson, “It was pretty much the same thing, that we’re introducing legislation, we’re working on it and a year later, we’re listed in Business Week, Food & Drink, as one of the top ten trucks in America and we’re not even allowed to be on the streets in Cleveland.”

Twitter and Facebook have played a huge role in Chris’ success in Cleveland and he credits his friends and followers with coming to his rescue. “We’ve reached over 420,000 people in one day about this, just because other people are re-posting.”

Chris counts on his food followers to find him and while some critics say food trucks can hurt restaurants, the manager of Metro Bar + Kitchen doesn’t see it that way. “I think a food truck would not be too detrimental to the area,” said Jason Crawford. “You know, there are different food choices for everybody, you have your business clientele and your casual diners.”

Right now, Chris just wants to make it in the city where he was born and raised but he says it hasn’t been easy. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I’ve never worked a day in my life, like, I absolutely love what I do.”

Chris plans to put another truck on the road when the matter is resolved. City Council is expected to tackle the permit issue within the next few weeks.,0,3521021.story