SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — After much debate, one of those trendy food trucks began operating in San Francisco’s Dolores Park this weekend.
Customers around the Bay Area seem to like mobile food vendors, but some neighbors and merchants, not so much. “Doc’s of the Bay” has a catchy name and serves burgers and comfort food near a park in Emeryville, but gaining a foothold in San Francisco is a challenge. The owner’s applications for seven locations are all being contested.
“It looks like we’re in for a long process and it might be even harder than we think,” Zak Silverman told ABC7.
New rules enacted in March make it easier to apply for a permit and to object to a permit. One spot where Docs wants to locate is in Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi’s District.
“I do support food trucks as long as I think it’s well vetted by the city’s permitting process, so neighbors have the ability to have their concerns aired, and merchants,” he said.
John Konstin, the owner of John’s Grill in Union Square, says a food truck wants to roll up on his street. He is concerned about traffic and competition, not for his fine dining establishment, but for the small cafes.
“There are a lot of other little businesses in this area who pay $30, $40, $50,000 a month, and someone will come in and just be able to reap a profit,” he said.
“I think the reality of the competition is there is space for both brick and mortar, and mobile food,” said Caleb Zigas at La Cocina.
La Cocina is a non-profit incubator working with low-income chefs, including those who want to operate food trucks. La Cocina’s financial assistance allowed Mexican food truck Chaac-Mool to open in Dolores Park this weekend.
“We have to go to city hall and get some permits too, and so my dad, the chef, actually wrote a card for these people that manage the neighborhood and the parks. So, it was a little complicated,” Luis Vazquez said.
Because of some neighborhood opposition, that truck will move from inside the park to curbside. Last year, Oakland-based Blue Bottle Coffee backed out of plans to operate in the same park because of the backlash.