Late-night revelers looking for chicken, a burrito, a good old-fashioned hot dog or some Asian rib-eye beef just got more food options in Atlanta.
The Atlanta City Council on Tuesday voted 15-0 to establish regulations for food vending trucks. That will allow dozens of new vending trucks to operate on private property in commercial areas throughout Atlanta.
The trucks were previously allowed only for special events such as festivals or at special weekly gatherings. Councilman Kwanza Hall said allowing the trucks to expand “is a win-win for the city and vendors.”
“We are opening new doors to innovation and food concepts while encouraging job creation,” Hall said. “This is fueling a rebirth of our economy even at a small grass-roots level.”
Food trucks — relying heavily on social media — have become extremely popular nationwide, and the trend is catching on in Atlanta.
The city allows special gatherings of food trucks at Inman Park on Wednesdays, in Midtown on Thursdays and Atlantic Station on Fridays.
The council’s decision pleased Rebecca Young, who became the matriarch of Atlanta food trucks when she started Yumbii a year and a half ago.
“Anything that brings us closer to moving freely in the city and vending is good,” said Young, who sells a fusion of Mexican, Southern and Asian cuisine. “We get requests every day to come somewhere and we can’t.”
The new legislation is still somewhat restrictive. Trucks will only be allowed on private property in commercial districts throughout the city from 5 a.m. until 2 a.m.
Young said her hope is that someday “we will be able to park on any street and vend. But I am not complaining.”
On the special vending days, between four and 11 trucks are set up. Hall said there are at least 20 vendors waiting in line to get a license from the city to start selling food. He said an additional 30 are waiting to buy trucks and develop their concepts.
Young said she has been contacted several times by people looking to get in the business.
“We have helped launch a couple of trucks. This will help put their minds at ease,” Young said. “This is a big investment, but this will allow more trucks to launch and more people to get into this business.”
Young said she employs nine people on her truck and that number is about to go up.
On Thursday, at 12th and Peachtree streets, she will launch her second Yumbii truck — a decision she made before the vote.
“This means we have made a huge commitment to the city,” Young said. “We’d like to think we are contributing to getting people employed.”