By DAN BERNSTEIN | PE.com
Put your ear to the ground and you might hear the faint rumble of gourmet food trucks heading deeper into the Empire.
Except for special events (Coachella, the Date Festival, etc.), these sleek, fully equipped, mobile kitchens are banned in Riverside and S’Berdoo counties — even as LA and Orange county foodies are but a tweet away from hot, fresh Korean-Mexican fusion tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, sliders, crepes and other delights.
But in June, these trucks roared into Ontario for a Food Truck Fest that attracted thousands, including Riverside Councilman Paul Davis, who appeared to get food-truck religion: “Let’s open our eyes to a new economy. Maybe we’ve been too Draconian.” Hallelujah!
Needlessly mimicking the county, the Riverside council had earlier imposed a virtual ban on these vehicles, apparently confusing modern gourmet food trucks with rickety ice cream trucks whose operators occasionally sell toy guns to children. (And we keep hearing Riverside is such a “smart” city.)
But now, Riverside is staging its own food-truck fest — a downtown Sept. 3 affair that is almost certain to demolish the most popular stereotypes (“roach coach” and “tacos in a trunk”) held by RivCo’s mule-headed electeds and bureaucrats.
And S’Berdoo County Supe Janice Rutherford has made good on her vow to drive the food-truck matter right into the meeting chambers.
Tuesday, Berdoo supes will consider relaxing food-truck rules in order to make this fare more accessible to county residents.
There are good reasons for these counties to get with it. Some food trucks are made in Lake Elsinore — deep in the heart of Supe Bob Buster’s district — but must leave RivCo before they can cruise the streets and open for business. This makes no sense.
The stakes are even higher for RivCo Supe Jeff Stone. His blueprint for secession calls for South JeffStonia to include 13 counties. Among them San Diego and Orange Counties.
It’s going to be tough enough to sell this idea, but imagine Stone telling electeds in those backwaters: “We’d like you to come with us, but you’ll have to ditch your food trucks.” Can you say deal killer?
It won’t be easy coming up with sensible food-truck rules, but it can be done. It has been done in our neighboring counties. And, yes, the rules will probably have to be a bit stricter in S’Berdoo County.
Some food trucks have very clever names: “Great Balls on Tires” (specializing in meatballs), “Grill Em All,” etc. If only for appearance’s sake, S’Berdoo should publish a pre-emptive list of unacceptable food truck handles — names that might put the county in an unflattering light:
PAC It In
On The Takeout
Baby Back BribES
Big House of Pancakes
The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Falafel