Paso Robles, CA: Gourmet Food Truck Culture – Will City Municipal Code Allow It?

Downtown Paso Robles, CA

By Josh Petray | Paso Robles Press

Downtown Paso Robles, CA

PASO ROBLES – The city of Paso Robles municipal code could end up conflicting with a local restauranteur’s efforts to propel Paso Robles into the gourmet food truck culture movement.

Local restauranteur Tom Fundaro, head chef/part owner of Villa Creek restaurant, sees the need for after-hours food service.

He’s making a push to re-examine the city of Paso Robles municipal code to see if the city will allow him to pursue his next business venture: mobile food truck services for Paso Robles.

The city’s municipal code, however, could provide some hurdles.

The code doesn’t allow for mobile food trucks in the public-right-of-way for longer than 10 minutes.  Privately owned land could be used; however only if the location has provided approval and the stop is intended for customers from the immediate area, such as in a private parking lot that would service business park employees (not just a random street corner), according to planner Susan DeCarli.

Fundaro would like to meet a growing market demand for gourmet food served from food trucks. He’d like to offer food after dinner hours to serve the late night crowd downtown, and also provide lunch time meals (advertised through Tweets and Facebook), according to DeCarli.

Fundaro said he noticed the need for after-hours food service particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyone who is drinking in the area must go to 24th Street fast food restaurants as the nearest food at that hour, he said.

Fundaro said larger cities have been hosting social media-driven gourmet food trucks. He said the proposal would be written to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants like Villa Creek.

“Currently, the city’s regulations are very conflicting,” Fundaro said.

The code doesn’t provide for the flexibility that would be needed for the circumstances he would like to pursue, she said.

However, city officials continue to research.

DeCarli will be researching city regulations thoroughly to determine options that may be suitable for mobile food truck services that would not conflict with the interests of fixed-location restaurants. She will also be coordinating with the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Association and Development Review Committee to get their input when options to consider are developed, before taking this issue forward to Planning Commission and City Council.