Greensboro, NC: City May Host Food Truck Pilot Program

Margaret Baxter (News & Record)

By Amanda Lehmert |

Margaret Baxter (News & Record)

GREENSBORO — The city likely will host a one-month pilot program to test whether food trucks will work downtown.

Mobile kitchens are banned in much of downtown. The City Council may change that rule later this year.

But in the meantime, council members said on Tuesday that they want to park the trucks on Commerce Place near Elon Law School during the lunch and dinner hours for a trial period to begin Oct. 1.

“This gives us a chance to build some enthusiasm and really get at some of the facts,” Mayor Robbie Perkins said.

The council will take a formal vote on the pilot program Sept. 4.

Greensboro foodies have pressed city leaders for the last few months to ease the ban on food trucks downtown. But some downtown advocates are worried the competition might negatively affect the 45 center-city restaurants.

Food truck advocates liked the idea of parking the trucks on Commerce Place, a short street that intersects with West Friendly Avenue near the heart of downtown.

Such a project could help revitalize the area and take advantage of the ready customer base of Elon students, who take classes just around the block, supporters said.

“Elon Law was thrilled to hear we may consider doing this,” said Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan, who has been researching the issue this summer.

The city staff has not worked out details of the program, such as how much a truck will pay to participate or which trucks will be able to participate. Council members said they would like to give preference to locally owned food trucks.

Some council members said they would like to pursue changing the city rules that govern food trucks. But they are waiting to first hear the results of Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s survey of center-city restaurant owners. The survey will be done by the end of this week.