Hell On Wheels: Why Food Truck Owners Are Feeling The Heat

Cleveland Food Trucks - Photo Bob Perkoski

By Douglas Trattner | FreshWaterCleveland.com

Cleveland Food Trucks - Photo Bob Perkoski

It was one of those deceivingly sunny late March days that we have here in Cleveland — unseasonably cold, yet still more hopeful than February. Nevertheless, Tremont’s Lincoln Park was bustling.

As many as 2,000 people flooded the square, lured from their cozy nests by the promise of Polish boys, tater tots, and pad Thai in a paper box. Lines some 50 deep formed in front of the dozen or so food trucks that participated in the inaugural C-Town Chow Down. Crowds were so large that eventually everyone ran out of food and the party dispersed.

“Food trucks are hot all over the U.S. right now, thriving in places as diverse as Portland, Austin and even Columbus,” says Lizzy Caston, a communications pro who consults with cities on modernizing food truck policy. “They are successful micro-economic development engines that are creating independent wealth in one of the worst recessions in decades.”

But rather than encourage the proliferation of these “micro-economic development engines,” the City of Cleveland makes it nearly impossible to succeed, say food truck operators. An antiquated permitting process combined with a regressive zoning policy is stifling start-ups before they begin and making life miserable for those who do get rolling.

“If Cleveland is serious……. READ MORE: http://www.freshwatercleveland.com/features/foodtrucklaws041411.aspx