Greenville, SC: Hundreds Rally; City Now Says Food Truck Rules ‘Likely To Evolve

City promises to work with public on proposed ordinance

By Liz Lohuis |

City promises to work with public on proposed ordinance
City promises to work with public on proposed ordinance

GREENVILLE, S.C. —After announcing proposed food truck regulations that would essentially keep the vendors out of downtown Greenville, it appears the city’s stance is softening.

Despite chilly temperatures Wednesday night, hundreds of people were in The Owl restaurant and its parking lot, where Neue Southern, Asada and Chocolate Moose served from their food trucks.  The bricks-and-mortar restaurant hosted the rally to encourage the city to reconsider the proposed regulations.

Aaron Manter, co-owner and chef at The Owl, said, “The night was an absolute smashing success on every level. It bordered on becoming a full-on festival. All of the trucks sold out of food, and we had perhaps the best Wednesday we’ve ever had while ‘competing’ with the trucks directly in our lot. Some extremely talented chefs dropped everything on their plate and charged down from out of state to show support for the cause. They weren’t making a paycheck — they did it because we asked and they’re our friends. Much like us and the trucks. Symbiosis.”

The proposed ordinance that led to the rally would allow food trucks downtown, which until now was off limits. But the trucks would be restricted to parking only on private property and must stay at least 250 feet from stand-alone restaurants.

“Regulating a town that is supposedly going to be the new foodie town of the South doesn’t seem along the lines with everything the magazines have been saying lately,” said Kensey Boyd.

City leaders say they want to be clear they are pro-food trucks, and the ordinance is likely to change as the City Council gets more input from consumers and businesses.

“This is an evolving process, but we are thrilled about food trucks,” said Council member Amy Ryberg Doyle.

The city says it’s also looking at ways to promote food trucks, and encourage more to come to Greenville.

The city plans to hold a workshop on the food truck proposal and once it receives more feedback from the public, the Council will vote on a revised ordinance.  That’s expected to happen in late spring.

Manter said, “I just hope we raised public awareness and elevated some discourse on the topic of trucks. The task force says they studied other town’s laws, but most cities are in a perpetual war with trucks. I hope that Greenville can stop looking to sub-par models of truck regulations and be innovative enough to be the town that other cities emulate.”